The New York Times: In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’

4 July, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Such policies sow the seeds of ostracisation, resentment, marginalisation. Targeting specific population and identifying them as at risk of non-integration will create fear, retaliation and violence. Moreover, this policy reeks of contempt for foreign parents, as if they did not know how to care for their children, and the State had to compensate for their failure. This will further increase the resentment. In all cases, it will be counter-productive in terms of integration as these daycare centres will be quickly termed “ghetto daycare centres”.

If social integration mechanisms are needed from age 1, let them be for all children. Many States have already mandatory education from age 3. One could discuss the merits and having mandatory part time day care from age 1, in order to socialise children better and free the parents for the labour market. But it would have to be for all children, citizens and foreigners. This would be an excellent integration solution.

By Ellen Barry and Martin Selsoe Sorensen

COPENHAGEN — When Rokhaia Naassan gives birth in the coming days, she and her baby boy will enter a new category in the eyes of Danish law. Because she lives in a low-income immigrant neighborhood described by the government as a “ghetto,” Rokhaia will be what the Danish newspapers call a “ghetto parent” and he will be a “ghetto child.”

Starting at the age of 1, “ghetto children” must be separated from their families for at least 25 hours a week, not including nap time, for mandatory instruction in “Danish values,” including the traditions of Christmas and Easter, and Danish language. Noncompliance could result in a stoppage of welfare payments. Other Danish citizens are free to choose whether to enroll children in preschool up to the age of six.

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