- Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:00 pm #560817
Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island
COPENHAGEN — Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases.
As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus.
“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook.
On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes but who cannot be returned to their home countries. Many would be rejected asylum seekers.
The 17-acre island, in an inlet of the Baltic Sea, lies about two miles from the nearest shore, and ferry service is infrequent. Foreigners will be required to report at the island center daily, and face imprisonment if they do not.
“We’re going to minimize the number of ferry departures as much as at all possible,” Martin Henriksen, a spokesman for the Danish People’s Party on immigration, told TV 2. “We’re going to make it as cumbersome and expensive as possible.”
The deal allocates about $115 million over four years for immigrant facilities on the island, which are scheduled to open in 2021.
The finance minister, Kristian Jensen, who led the negotiations, said the island was not a prison, but added that anyone placed there would have to sleep there.
Legal experts said it was too early to tell whether the Lindholm Island project would cross those boundaries, constituting illegal confinement.
A former immigration minister, Birthe Ronn Hornbech, called the island project “a joke” and a blunder comparable to a soccer player scoring a goal for the opposing team.
“Nothing will become of this proposal,” she wrote in her newspaper column.
"It is the duty of a newspaper to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."