Denmark Has a Radical Plan Amid Rising Immigration Anxieties: Send Migrants to a Deserted Island

December 4, 2018, 12:14 PM UTC

The Danish Government has pledged to push its legal obligations to human rights to the limits in a new plan to force some migrants to live on an isolated island that is currently home to a facility researching infectious animal diseases.

As part of its budget negotiations, the Danish government announced a plan to use Lindholm Island to house up to 100 migrants who had committed crimes or been rejected for asylum but couldn’t be returned to their home countries. Danish Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg, member of Denmark’s conservative Liberal Party, wrote on Facebook, “they are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that.”

The right-wing populist Danish People’s Party, which supported the plan, tweeted an animated video of a brown-skinned man being dropped off on a barren rock outcropping with a caption that read, in part, “expelled, criminal aliens have nothing to do in Denmark. Until we can get rid of them, we now move them out on the island Lindholm in Stege Bay.”

Danish Finance Minister Kristian Jensen emphasized that the migrants would not be in prison, though they will be required to report to officials daily and sleep on the island, or else they could be imprisoned.

Over 90% of the country’s current population is of Danish descent, but that number is expected to decline to just under 87% by 2060, when the number of non-Western immigrants or their descendants is expected to nearly double from 493,468 today to 867,258, according to Danmarks Statistik. There are also rising anxieties about migrants missing language classes and negatively affecting the country’s welfare system.

Some elected officials opposed the plan. Uffe Elbaek, the leader of the Alternative Party, said his party would never consider such a plan, adding, “inhuman politics are creating a completely different Denmark to the Denmark I love.”

If the current plan goes forward—it hinges on a facility being built on the island and the idea surviving any possible legal challenge—migrants could move to Lindholm Island by 2021.