In Europe, refugees from Syria and Iraq have been cramming the ferry-trains heading from Germany to Denmark. But once in Denmark, many refused to get off. Where they really want to go is Sweden, where refugee policies are more generous. When the Danes said no, they hopped off the trains, and began heading toward the Swedish border by taxi, bus, and foot.
Sweden has the most welcoming asylum policies and most generous welfare programs in the European Union. One typical refugee, Natanael Haile, barely escaped drowning in the Mediterranean in 2013. But the folks back home in Eritrea don’t want to know about the perils of his journey. As he told The New York Times, they want to know about “his secondhand car, the government allowances he receives and his plans to find work as a welder once he finishes a two year language course.” As a registered refugee, he receives a monthly living allowance of more than $700 (U.S.).
Sweden’s generous immigration policies are essential to the image of a country that (like Canada) prides itself as a moral superpower. For the past 40 years, most of Sweden’s immigration has involved refugees and family reunification, so much so that the words “immigrant” and “refugee” are synonymous there (unlike in Canada).