Updated: Apr 6
Denmark's immigration minister Inger Stojberg, known for her hardline stance on migration, has drawn ire from people on social media after she said that in order to pass language tests, asylum seekers cheat and abuse the trust of authorities.
Inger Stojberg of the ruling center-right Venstre party, cited a Facebook group that provides answers to Danish language and culture tests, which all migrants have to take in the Nordic country.
“A significant group” of refugees who have come to Denmark “cheats, lies and abuses our trust,” she wrote in an editorial in BT, a Danish tabloid newspaper.
Another problem that Stojberg highlighted is the age of so-called minors among migrants, many of whom are believed to be grown men posing as adolescents.
“We also see young people under the age of 18 who cheat their way into getting better treatment and more benefits,” she stated, stressing that an unaccompanied minor costs over 500,000 kroner ($80,000) per year for the state.
“In fact, two thirds of those whom we later age-tested proved to be older than they originally stated,” she added.
Stojberg’s remarks, which she also posted on her Facebook page, have caused an online controversy, with people saying that it is the Danish immigration minister who “cheats and abuses the Danish people’s trust.”
“You are a sad example of Denmark's idea and understanding of integration,” one person wrote, while another stated that Stojberg’s rhetoric criminalizes people “who happen to come from another country and are on the run.”
According to recent data from the Refugees.dk website, over 3,000 people applied for asylum in Denmark last year, which is a “steep fall” since spring 2016.
All in all, in the past three years, some 30,000 arrived to seek refuge in the Nordic nation. Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans made up the largest part of the asylum seekers.
Minister had to flee
Earlier In November 2017 Inger Stojberg had to flee from a deportation center, chased by angry migrants. Police and security had to intervene to help the minister escape a potential assault by a crowd of rejected asylum-seekers, indignant over her decision to focus attention on only one family in the deportation facility.
On what was supposed to be a photo op at the Sjælsmark deportation center on the island of North Zealand, things went awry as a group of failed asylum applicants encircled her, Danish broadcaster DR reported.
A crowd of around 40 disgruntled residents of the center, all awaiting deportation, confronted the minister as she was about to drive away.
n the video of the incident, a woman can be seen jumping under the wheels of the moving vehicle, which does not stop. Police said the woman was only slightly hurt and her injuries are believed to not be serious.
DENMARK | Immigration minister flees deportation center
“When we came outside after the visit, the atmosphere started getting aggressive. Residents started gathering around Stojberg,”journalist Martin Torpe, who witnessed the scene, said as cited by DR.
At that moment, the minister’s security guards and police began to push through the crowd as they escorted her to the car.
The crowd became more enraged and attempted to prevent her from leaving by blocking the car.
The minister was joined by several lawmakers and journalists on the visit and was filmed for DR.
The unrest was reportedly triggered by Stojberg’s decision to speak with only one family of Kurdish asylum-seekers, with rumors circulating that the family would be granted asylum afterwards.
“They had baked cakes, bought flowers and made signs on which the words ‘we are not criminals’ were written. But we are all [considered to be] problems, so all she did was go in and talk to one chosen family,” Valid Rahmatti, one of the residents of the center, told Politiken.
Following the incident, Stojberg thanked her security and driver for keeping her safe. “Without you it could have ended completely wrong,” she wrote on Facebook.
Denmark took in around 21,000 refugees at the height of the European refugee crisis in 2015. The following year, it only accepted 6,072 people and cut social benefits for refugees in half. As a result of the policy change, 532 asylum-seekers voluntarily left the country last year