Are the Danes xenophobic?

Since the present Liberal-Conservative minority government assumed power in 2001, Danish immigration policy has become increasingly unforgiving. This is very much due to the government needing either the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP) or the Social Democrats to command a majority, and that most immigration-related legislation has been planned with and heavily influenced by the former.

Not being satisfied with Denmark having probably the most exclusive and discriminatory immigration laws in the EU, however, the DPP has now suggested even harsher legislation.

Martin Henriksen from the DPP suggests abolishing the Green card-system through which the work- and residence permits of non-European foreigners is conditional upon a points system based upon educational level, language skills, work experience, adaptability, and age. “It can be abolished or tightened to make it harder for non-Westerners to enter Denmark“, said Henriksen, adding that he also wishes to reduce the amount of quota refugees that Denmark is obliged to accept from UN refugee camps by “helping them in their own countries or in other nearby areas, and not bringing them to Denmark“. DPP deputy leader Peter Skaarup is even more blunt in stating, “we must inhibit – or even altogether stop – immigration of non-Western immigrants“.

The party also suggests “an integration commission that is to calculate the costs of immigrants from the Third World“. The reason for this, according to DPP-leader Pia Kjærsgaard, is that “we wish to stop all immigrants that do not contribute to the Danish society“, and that “we do not want a society with diverse population groups“.

And if apologists for such policies might wish to claim that such legislation is not discriminatory, Pia Kjærsgaard herself disproves such claims by answering the question of a journalist, as to whether she is in favour of discrimination. “Yes, you could say that. We already discriminate in many other areas. Why can’t homosexuals donate blood, for instance? That’s also discriminatory. As is not being able to vote until you are 18. So one shouldn’t be afraid of saying: ‘yes, we discriminate, but we do so for the greater good“.

That such exclusive and discriminatory policies are embraced by others than the DPP and its supporters can be seen by the response of the Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the readers of the Ekstra Bladet newspaper to the suggestions of the DPP. The PM insisted that he “knew the values of Pia Kjærsgaard well” in remonstrating with his Minister of Immigration, who had said that the suggestions of the DPP were wrong as a matter of principle. The readers of Ekstra Bladet were also in line with the DPP as over 70% of the over 12.000 readers who responded to the question, “should non-Westerners be allowed to emigrate to Denmark?”, responded that they shouldn’t.

Finally, we need the term “non-Western” to be properly defined to be able to understand the scope of the DPP’s suggestions, especially as Pia Kjærsgaard was unwilling define the term when asked by a journalist. “The West” is mostly meant to refer to the nations of the European Union and/or Western Europe in general, The USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Samual Huntington uses a more cultural definition that includes the aforementioned countries, as well as Papua New Guinea and the Philipines. Others include Latin America in the definition of the West, as well as Israel.

What the DPP probably means when they want to exclude non-Western populations from gaining work or residence permits in Denmark is thus that they wish to more or less categorically exclude most of the non-White population of the world from residing or working in Denmark, however well educated or needy they might be – although I imagine that black and Asian people from e.g. the USA or Australia will not be excluded simply on the basis of their skin colour. If we want to get any closer than this we will have to wait for the DPP to define “non-Western”.

Links:

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, Stiff Kitten’s Blog

Er det dit Danmark, Lars?, Politiken, 22 November 2010

Foghs lorteårti gjorde os til egoister, Politiken, 20 November 2010

Svensk magasin tildeler Pia Kjærsgaard racistisk førsteplads, Modkraft, 13 March 2009

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