It is often said that politics is the art of setting priorities and allocating common resources. Since the tax coffer is no bottomless well, it is the politician’s duty to ascertain that resources, including foreign aid, are distributed to benefit the maximum amount of people. In Sweden, the politicians are working in the other direction.
Sweden prides itself on being a “Humanitarian Superpower” and has provided generous aid to third world countries for decades. But now that the immigration floodgates have been opened, the skyrocketing cost of harboring hundreds of thousands of new arrivals within Swedens borders are forcing the government to divert money from the actual foreign aid.
While the specifics are yet to be determined, the government estimates that a fifth of the foreign aid money will now go to offset the domestic costs. Not surprisingly, several foreign aid organizations are protesting loudly about getting de-funded. But hey, it’s the same money being spent, so what’s the big deal if it goes here or there?
Simply put, it’s a matter of how much bang you’re getting for your buck.
Some foreign aid initiatives are long-term projects for combating poverty (the source of most ills in the developing world,) which may prevent the humanitarian disaster of tomorrow by allowing those countries to build the infrastructure to handle the next drought or similar crisis on their own. Water purification and vaccination programs for kids are also common.
But perhaps the most urgent and tangible part of foreign aid are the vast amounts of people huddled in miserable refugee camps surrounding the Syria/Iraq warzone. While the exact per-person costs vary between locations and aid organizations, it usually only costs a few dollars per day to keep these vulnerable people alive and somewhat sheltered. Clean water, a tent, food packets, emergency medical care. Basic stuff. But life-and-death nonetheless for the poor bastards sitting there in the desert with only their clothes on their backs.
But none of this is a priority to Swedish politicians. In fact, there are no second thoughts about literally pulling BILLIONS from these people, and instead maintaining the insanely expensive immigration program for those who had the means to bribe their way through 6-7 countries only to end up in the tiny Nordic country a full continent away.
I strongly recommend reading Merit Wagers excellent blog for numerous real-life examples of how the Swedish asylum system is being abused, and the massive costs for sustaining these brazen frauds. But one category that I find most galling is the “unaccompanied child refugees”.
These are a special category of refugees with much higher chance of getting asylum. Since they’re minors, they also get much higher class housing with 24/7 assistants waiting on them. Naturally, the cost for this category is considerably higher than regular asylum seekers. The normal cost is between 3000 and 6000 SEK ($350-700) per day per child, but in some circumstances it can skyrocket upwards 15 000 SEK ($1750) per day. But these are kids we’re talking about, right? Like these:
Present day refugee children.
Or these. During World War II, some 70 000 Finnish children were sent to Sweden to escape the horrors of war.
Who could possibly argue against taking in these helpless children? Wellllll… There are a few problems here. First off, almost nobody has ID upon arrival, so nobody really has any idea who the person really is or how old he (usually a male) really is. And unlike the other Nordic countries, Sweden stubbornly refuses to age-test. So anyone hoping to get fast-tracked to a granted visa can claim to be a minor, and due to fear of being called a racist, nobody calls them on it. The results are sometimes downright comical.
Here is a 14-year old little boy running at a school in Kristianstad. You can read the full article in the local newspaper here, where the reporter is just marveling over how fast he is!
Here is another 14-year old child, interviewed by state-owned radio P4.
This is the prime minister (second from right) visiting a home for refugee children.
More helpless little tykes.
…But at least some are given a teddy bear to comfort themselves.
All jest aside, this is of course absurd. The other Nordic countries also saw the rise in “children” knocking on their doors, and did the sensible thing: had their doctors run a simple age test by measuring bones and/or checking teeth. In Denmark, 3 out of 4 “children” arriving the first months of 2012 turned out to be adults. Norway got the same results; 3 out of 4. Finland “only” turned out to have 65% frauds, but still took the cake by having a 29-year old posing as a minor.
As a result, there has since been a sharp decrease in “children” arriving to the other Nordic countries. Only Sweden, which stubbornly refuses to age-test, is seeing a continued rise. The graph below is somewhat outdated; it only shows Sweden up until 2013. The prediction for 2015 is a whopping 6000.
But hey, the poor bastards in the refugee camps can comfort themselves knowing that the Humanitarian Superpower is doing its part to make this a better world.