The Danish government has with the help of its wingmen from the Danish People's Party and the opposition Social Democrats, agreed on a new plan specifying tougher family re-unification rules. The new rules are expected, among other things, to make it more difficult for people living in ghettos to get their partners to Denmark, Danish Radio reported.
In order for "ghetto dwellers" to reunite with a spouse from abroad, a number of requirements shall be met, including education, language proficiency and work experience. According to Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg of the ruling Liberal Party, who described the measure as a "crackdown on ghettos," the tightened requirements will result in fewer family reunions, a goal surprisingly shared by their rivals from the "red" block, the Social Democrats.
"There should be no more family reunions in exposed residential areas in Denmark. They already bear a big social burden. We should not be asking them to solve integration issues as well," Social Democrats immigration spokesman Mattias Tesfaye said, as quoted by the BT daily.
"I simply do not understand why ethnicity is repeatedly being used as a parameter. Thus, well-functioning and well-integrated non-Western immigrants, according to the Social Democrats, have a negative impact on a community, too, even though they, for example, both have a good education and a good income. It's absolutely grotesque," told BT.
Red-Green Alliance integration rapporteur Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen called the proposal "basically unreasonable" and "crazy."
One of the places likely to be affected by the rules is the residential area Mjølner Park, where 82 percent of the population is non-Danish and where unemployment exceeds 40 percent. Local chairman Muhammad Aslam was also critical of the proposal.
"Everyone, regardless of skin color and ethnicity, should be able to live where they want. I cannot see why my children or grandchildren should being discriminated against because their father or grandfather is from a particular country. They are born in Denmark and are Danes," Muhammad Aslam said, hoping that no "cleansing of certain citizens" shall occur.
Under current rules, mixed-nationality couples where the non-Danish partner does not hold EU citizenship must meet a so-called "attachment requirement," implying that the couple would be more strongly "attached" to Denmark than to any other country. The proposed new family reunification rules would see the attachment requirement replaced by demands related to a number of integration criteria.
The proposed rules, however, will not apply to EU citizens or refugees with legal rights to reunification.