One of Europe’s most tolerant, immigrant-friendly countries is facing three nights of Paris-style riots from angry immigrants. The riots, which started when police gunned down an elderly man wielding a machete, have ignited a debate over how well the country is doing when it comes to integrating immigrants into Swedish society. The FT reports:
Experts say that while the Nordic country successfully integrated its immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s it has struggled to do so in the past decade, with many blaming a lack of jobs for low-skilled workers. Youth unemployment was 25.1 per cent in March, above the EU average, even as the overall rate was 8.4 per cent and below the average.
Tolerance and integration are completely different things, and progressive Northern Europe hasn’t figured out how to excel at both. Immigration policy is about more than how many people you let in; it’s also about channeling that flow.The US handles much larger numbers of immigrants with much less stress, but this does not mean that we are exempt from the kinds of problems Sweden is having and others have had. Controlling the number of immigrants and thinking intelligently about the compatibility of immigrant cultures with one’s own society is, as the experience of country after country in Europe shows us, a necessity.We favor a liberal and humane immigration policy, but that is not the same thing as a refusal to make immigration policy and to stick to it. Controlling the border is an essential aspect of sovereignty.[Sweden fist image courtesy of Shutterstock]