A controversial plan by Denmark’s government is proposing banishing “unwanted” illegal immigrants to a remote island that once was home to contagious animals.
The deal, part of a 2019 finance bill before parliament, seeks to move the migrants to uninhabited Lindholm Island, two miles off the southeast coast of Denmark, CNN reported.
“Our hope … is that people outside Denmark will understand that Denmark is not a very attractive place to seek asylum, if you are of refugee background, mean to cause harm, or incite crime,” spokesperson for the right-wing Danish People’s Party, Martin Henriksen, told CNN.
The deal between the center-right government and the DPP would see the former facilities on the island, which included a research center for contagious and seriously ill animals, replaced by an immigration center that could initially house 100 residents.
“When you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance for regular Danes,” Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg wrote on Facebook, explaining that certain migrants “are unwanted and they will feel it.”
The migrants “will be getting a new address,” Støjberg added.
According to CNN:
According to a government statement, the new center will house migrants who have what is known as “tolerated stay” status, meaning they do not have a residence permit but cannot be deported for other reasons, including threats to their life if they are sent home; those who are set to be deported due to criminal activity or for national security reasons; and foreign fighters and rejected asylum seekers convicted of breaking certain laws.
“Our approach is that they should stay on the island as much as possible, and if we can keep them there the whole time, we will aim to do that,” Henriksen said. “We plan to have police, prison services, guards and detention cells in place, in case of any unrest.”
Critics and human rights advocates have condemned the plan, with one member of a grassroots refugee organization calling it a form of “modern barbarity.”
A video posted by DPP depicting an animation of a Muslim man being dropped on Lindholm Island while explaining the process was found to be “deeply racist” by a Palestinian-born refugee from Syria with a residence permit who moved to Denmark.
Udviste, kriminelle udlændinge har INTET at gøre i Danmark. Indtil vi kan komme af med dem, flytter vi dem nu ud på øen Lindholm i Stege Bugt, hvor de vil have pligt til at opholde sig på det nye udrejsecenter om natten. Og der vil være politi til stede døgnet rundt. Sådan!#dkpol pic.twitter.com/YybG4zkwQi
— Dansk Folkeparti (@DanskDf1995) November 30, 2018
The government of Denmark has been tightening immigration policies recently, introducing laws in August to restrict face coverings worn by some Muslim women. The proposed plans to move migrants, many with criminal records, have rights groups concerned.
“It is important to note that these people, while they have committed crimes, have already served their sentence,” Louise Holck, deputy director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, told CNN. “There is no grounds for detention, and from a human rights perspective, we are not just talking about windows with bars …. We will have to assess that they are not detained de facto.”
Finance Minister Kristian Jensen pushed back against complaints that the new facility will be like a prison.
“Many of them are restricted by regular compulsory attendance that they need to abide by, because we need to know where they are located,” he said, noting that the government is responsible for keeping track of those who have committed crimes.
“Denmark is an island,” Jensen, of the Venstre party, told CNN. “We have lots of islands and lots of Danes living on islands. None of them feel this is a violation of their rights.”
Henriksen echoed the sentiment, saying the decision is in the “best interest” of the country’s citizens.
“We are doing what we believe is in the best interest of Danes, and if it comes down to choosing whose interest to protect — then we will take care of our own first,” he said. “But it will, of course, be up to the Danish government to determine what lies within the conventions.”
He also hopes the example of putting one’s own citizens first, as President Donald Trump has boldly espoused, will be followed by others.
“I hope it will inspire other countries to do the same,” Henriksen said. “If they want any advice they are always welcome to call. We want other countries to tighten up their rules too. We believe it is in everyone’s interest to do that.”
The hard stand on immigration seems ironic for a nation leftists have touted as a liberal utopia, with “free” college tuition and “free” healthcare. The latest move may spell trouble for liberals like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and their perfect vision for America. Twitter users weighed in on the paradox.
— Colin Petersen (@colinTpetersen) December 6, 2018
And here Denmark keeps coming up as a prime example of the wonders of socialized medicine that the U.S. should follow as an example. Isn’t Socialism and its kissing cousin, Communism, a wonderful thing?😍
— Dr. Paul (@PaulDerengowski) December 6, 2018
This is what happens when you have open borders.
— Sunday Monday (@SundayM18269565) December 6, 2018
Denmark seems like a nice place…
— Janice Bailey (@Eeisthebestest) December 6, 2018
“I think we should look to be more like Denmark.” –@BernieSanders
— Colin Petersen (@colinTpetersen) December 6, 2018
What? Not Denmark! Not the benchmark country for all things humanitarian, that the USA must follow
— sportsfannn (@sportsfannn1) December 6, 2018
Wait, that isn’t very socialist of them. What happened?
— Annie Margrock (@AnnieMargrock) December 6, 2018