By: Valerie Johnston
In February 2017, U.S. President Trump made a suggestion that Sweden had been the site of a terrorist attack only the day prior, a suggestion that was untrue. Just the day before this speech, a Trump supporter mentioned on Fox News that Sweden’s recent hike of crime reports was largely due to the higher percentage of Muslim migrants being welcomed into the country.
It is true that Sweden has both accepted more refugees per capita than other Western nations recently, and that there has been a spike in crime in urban areas within the country. However, an immigration researcher at Malmö University, Henrik Emilsson, revealed in an interview that the recent hike in crime is largely gang-related – meaning it has little to nothing to do with immigrants. There have been reports that sexual harassment has risen since the latest wave of immigrants have arrived in Sweden, but no formal studies have been done to learn the facts.
There is another way that immigration and crime are linked in Sweden, however. With more undocumented immigrants coming into the country than ever before, Swedish police say that there is a greater chance that these people are vulnerable to crime without justice. Without the ability to go to the police (due to fear of deportation), these people are frequently exploited by landlords and employees alike. Due to the rise in gang-related crime, border patrol resources are strained, making it harder to perform the controls necessary to stop undocumented immigration entirely.
The takeaway for those who sought facts after Trump’s comment remains that Sweden is still providing one of the most successful immigration systems in the Western world at the moment. Unemployment rates for refugees in Sweden are the lowest across Europe, and match that of Canada.