Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Refugees and Sweden: My perspective PART TWO

Part two
Migration background

William Booth said “Brought it all on themselves, you say? Perhaps so, but that does not excuse our assisting them!” If a person wants to avoid helping, then by all means, tell me how much cheaper and better it is to help these refugees close to home. The question and discussion is not what kind on immigration policy Sweden should have – it is that we have a problem on our door step. We must help those who need help. Not change the conversation to Sweden’s immigration policy (thereby avoiding helping those in front of our noses) how that should be changed. That is a question for another day, not now!

I know that there is a question as to whether or not ISIS warriors may be among those arriving on our shores. I know that Swedes feel they are getting the short end of the stick. I know there is a raging debate going on in Swedish society. I know that we have a party that advocates closing the boarders of Sweden to all new immigration, who even want to deport those who have been granted a residence permit, to be sent back to their home countries. I know that this week, starting on October 19, 2015, the Swedish Democratic Party SD (Sverigedemokraterna) are ready to call for a plebiscite as to whether or not Swedes want to continue the current immigration policy or not. I know all this, but this does not affect my view that we are to help those who ask for our help – no exceptions permitted!

This is not the first time that Sweden, or for that matter Europe in general, has accepted refugees. The Swedish Migration Agency records some of the influx of non-swedes who arrived in Sweden. I think that most Swedes would agree that these are now to be seen as Swedes. The list includes citizens from the following countries: Germans (Middle Ages), Finnish (1500s), Romani (1500s), Wallons (1600s), Savonian people (1600s), Jews (1700s), French (1700s), Italians (1800s) and Scotch (1800s). These groups have something in common, that is, they all come from the countries Europe and share the same religion – Christianity. They are not Muslims, followers of Islam. This seems to be the unspoken “real reason” why Swedes oppose accepting those who stand on our door-step.

Throughout recorded history, there has always been a migration of peoples. In 376 A.D. the Goths stormed the boarder of the Eastern Roman Empire as they were pushed out of the land they had lived in by the invading Huns. I think that one can use the term “refugee” to attach to the Goths. They were fleeing for their lives, after all!

In the 50s and 60s Sweden experienced an influx of refugees as well as workforce immigration. The Swedish Migration Agency states: “It was the refugees from Germany, the neighbouring Nordic countries and the Baltics who, over the course of World War II, turned the emigration country Sweden into an immigration country.” This is what happened after the end of WWII until the 60s.

My x times Great Grandfather came to Sweden from what today is Finland. He came during the 1600s. My parents emigrated from Sweden to the United States during the 1920s. They were part of that time when Sweden was an emigration country. I am the child of an immigrant.

During the 70s Sweden had regulated immigration. The 80s was a decade of asylum seekers from the new countries, which once had comprised the county of Yugoslavia. During the 90s we had “ethnic cleansing” that occurred as a result of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. This is a short history of migration of peoples.

The Current Situation in Europe; in particular Sweden.

I am going to use four words, which I think I need to define. The definition I’m going to use the following:
The term ‘migrant’ corresponds to a generic term for anyone moving to another country with the intention to stay for a minimum period of time (i.e. it excludes tourists and business visitors).
'Asylum seekers' are persons who have formally submitted a request for asylum but have not yet completed the asylum procedure, i.e. whose request for asylum is pending.
The term 'humanitarian migrant' refers to persons who have completed the asylum procedure with a positive outcome and have been granted some sort of protection (refugee status or another form of protection) or have been resettled through programmes outside the asylum procedure.

The term Economic migrant is someone who has left one country for another with the intention to stay.

These are the definitions provided by the OECD in Migration Policy Debate, No. 7, September 2015.

LEONARD JOHNSON
Sweden

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