When Rokhaia Naassan gives birth in the coming days, she and her baby boy will enter a new category in the eyes of Danish law. Because she lives in a low-income immigrant neighborhood described by the government as a “ghetto,” Rokhaia will be what the Danish newspapers call a “ghetto parent” and he will be a “ghetto child.”
Starting at the age of 1, “ghetto children” must be separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, not including nap time, for mandatory instruction in “Danish values,” including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language. Noncompliance could result in a stoppage of welfare payments.
Is this reasonable? Danish is spoken by 5.4 million people. Denmark is part of the EU and therefore once immigrants to Denmark gain citizenship they can relocate to another EU country where Danish language skills will be useless. If Denmark’s mission is to help migrants, wouldn’t it make sense to educate their children in the language of the parents’ choice, not only from age 1 but right through high school graduation?
[Separately, why are there political disagreements about these “new Danes”? We are told that even the lowest-skill immigrants boost an economy and lower a country’s crime rate (see “Germans shutting down immigration because they are tired of getting wealthier and enjoying lower crime rates?“). Danes now have years of direct personal experience with the positive benefits of immigration. Why wouldn’t voters be clamoring to get more immigrants?]
- “How Not to Welcome Refugees: With its new immigration law, Denmark is once again sending a blunt message to migrants.” (Atlantic, January 2016): On Tuesday, the Danish parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill seemingly designed to solidify Denmark’s reputation as Western Europe’s least attractive country for refugees—a hard-earned title at a time when many of its neighbors are tightening border controls … recently, the government proposed moving refugees from urban housing to camps outside cities, an initiative that would “shift the focus of government immigration policy to repatriation rather than integration,”