Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth largest city with around 150,000 people.
That means more migrants entered the country last year than there are people in Uppsala. On a per capita basis, Sweden lets in more refugees than any other country in the EU. At 20,000 asylum applications per million people, the rate is twice that of Germany.
And it hasn’t come without consequences. Like other countries across the bloc, Sweden has had problems with sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by migrants (see the events that occurred last August at a youth festival and concert in central Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården). The country has also had difficulties accommodating the refugees and in January, a 22-year-old asylum center worker was stabbed to death by a Somali migrant in Molndal.
Now, Sweden has quite literally reached its breaking point and recently announced it will deport some 80,000 of the migrants that entered the country in 2015. As Deutsche Welle noted last November, “when the Migration Agency upped its annual prediction for [asylum seekers in] 2015, it called for an extra 70 billion Swedish kroner (7.5 billion euros) in funding over the next two years - equivalent to Sweden's entire annual budget for schools, universities and scientific research.”
“Anna Kinberg Batra, the leader of Sweden's center-right Moderate Party, called [last year] for Sweden to start applying the EU's Dublin Regulation so strictly that any asylum-seeker who has stepped foot in another country en route would be turned back at the border,” DW continued, adding that Batra’s rhetoric "marked a U-turn for her party, whose previous leader Fredrik Reinfeldt in 2014 called on Swedes to ‘open your hearts to people fleeing under great stress.’"
Despite the country’s worsening immigration problem, Reinfeldt hasn’t given up on his message. At a charity event last Monday, the former PM delivered a message of hope and compassion while simultaneously questioning the narrative that the country is falling apart. This is what he said:
"True vulnerability is to put your family on a boat which you don't know if it's going to make it across the sea. True vulnerability is to flee even if you don't know where you're going, if you will get there, if you will even survive. But this is what it is when the alternative is impossible to live with. Therefore, you have to escape. That is vulnerability.”
"In our country we have now started using words to describe what Sweden is exposed to and I have understood that we're living in a collapse[d society]. Everything has stopped working. With those kinds of words we're there again – what do words mean in our time?"
"I have spent a few weeks meeting people and asking, in this country of collapse, how their Christmas holidays were. What was it like celebrating Christmas in a collapse? If Sweden is collapsing and nothing is working, what words do we have left to describe what is happening in Syria right now?"
Here’s amateur video of the speech for anyone who speaks Swedish:
And a bit more color from Danish daily Berlingske (Google translated):
"Is there a place in this world where people still believe in humanity? And a place where one can see how vulnerable displaced people is? These are the questions, the little children ask their fathers fleeing to Europe."
The words come from a new brand talk about Swedish immigration policy, as the former Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, held last week. It took place at Postnummerlotteriets annual assembly, and a fragment of speech is amateur filmed with iPhone and posted on Facebook.
A lot has happened since Reinfeldt ahead of elections eighteen months ago asked his fellow citizens to "open their hearts" for the many displaced who had come to Sweden. Later, he proclaimed that Sweden should be a "humanitarian superpower 'with ample space for human risk to flee. But after that in the autumn arrived over 100,000 asylum seekers to Sweden the government with a large majority in the Reichstag stood brakes and tightened sharply on foreign policy. And Fredrik Reinfeldt's party, the Moderate Party, has with the new manager, Anna Kinberg Batra, led the way with comprehensive checks, temporary residence permits and bans on begging.
In his emotionally charged speech describing Frederik Reinfeldt the horrors that people are fleeing, and the uncertainty that they engage in.
"And when you are on the run and going on the road with her child, and the child asks," Dad, where are we going? 'What should he respond? Yes, he must answer that somewhere in this world there is someone who has open eyes and sees human vulnerability and still believe in humanity."
That sounds good in principle. But you don't have to be anti-immigration or xenophobic to understand why it simply cannot be applied any further in Sweden. Rather, you need only possess a rudimentary understanding of statistics. If you take in a small, random sample of people from another country (any country really) as refugees, things are likely to turn out ok. Why? Because in almost all cultures, "bad apples" (so to speak) are the exception, not the rule and if you only take in say, 5,000 people, well then chances are any problems you do have will be manageable.
However, if you take in 170,000 people the problems will multiply. It's not that you'll have more problems on a refugee-for-refugee basis. Statistics say you won't. But because you've increased the total number of asylum seekers you've taken in by a factor of 34, then the problems you'll have will increase by that same amount. It's just math. Eventually, your capacity to deal with those problems will be exhausted and the smaller you are as a country the sooner you'll hit the limit. Sweden has hit the limit. It's not Sweden's fault. It's not refugees' fault. And it's not Islam's fault. It's just reality. Sorry Mr. Reinfeldt. It just no longer computes.