In an editorial that has drawn the fury of progressives in Denmark, possibly the most conservative of the Nordic states, the country's immigration minister said "a significant group" of refugees "cheats, lies and abuses our trust" to soak the Danish government for additional benefits - or to cheat on exams that allow them to receive asylum status.
According to Inger Stojberg's editorial, which was published in the Danish BT tabloid, thousands of migrants pose as adolescents to receive the additional benefits that the state of Denmark bestows on unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the country. In fact, as many as two-thirds of the refugees admitted to Denmark have later been found to be older than the age they gave during their arrival. More from RT (translation theirs):
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 also cited Facebook Groups found online where refugees share answers to Danish language and culture tests that every migrant entering Denmark must take.
However, rather than inciting popular demand to have these loopholes closed once and for all, Stojberg's editorial, which she also posted on her Facebook page, has triggered a backlash, with Danish citizens accusing her of "cheating" the Danish people by spreading lies and hate.
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."
That said, the government's immigration curbing policies are working: according to government data, more than 3,000 people applied for asylum in Denmark last year - a steep drop from the spring of 2016, when numbers were near their peak. Over the past three years, the country has taken in some 30,000 refugees, mostly Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans.