10 ways Denmark’s left-wing government reduced asylum applications by 82% and dramatically cut immigration

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, a Social Democrat, has championed strict immigration policies that can be emulated in other European nations.
By John Cody
16 Min Read

The Danish left-wing government’s continued push against mass immigration is producing tangible results, including a dramatic reduction in asylum applications as well as a sharp reduction in overall immigration. The government continues to be unique in all of Europe, featuring the only ruling left-wing bloc seriously opposed to mass immigration.

The numbers speak for themselves, with an 82 percent drop in asylum applications recorded and overall immigration falling 28 percent, according to a new in-depth report from the Foundation for Political Innovation (Fondapol).

The various hurdles and restrictions enacted by the government have made Denmark far less attractive for immigrants, and have kept the country nearly entirely ethnic European, with the vast majority of the population of Danish descent.

Despite the lack of diversity in Denmark, the country is routinely ranked one of the happiest on Earth, and it excels in terms of per capita wages, quality of life, inequality measurements, corruption, crime rates, and a range of other important metrics.

Many of the European countries run by the left-liberal establishment, which champions diversity as an intrinsic good, may want to examine the case of Denmark. Here are 10 ways the country has put a lid on immigration and satisfied the demands of a population opposed to more arrivals.

Migrants face restrictions at every level

French newspaper Le Figaro describes Denmark’s policies as “unimaginable in France,” noting that “for 20 years, Denmark has been pursuing the same policy, initiated by the right wing when it came to power in 2001, never questioned, and even continued by the social-democratic left.”

Denmark’s policy is “characterized by a drastic reduction in migration flows, a demanding integration program, difficult access to nationality and, from now on, the willingness to use a third country outside Europe to process visa applications.”

According to the French paper, Denmark’s approach to immigration is described as “restrictive” at every level, including from the moment migrants enter the country to the point they apply for housing, social benefits, and work.

Transparent data

While countries like Germany are racing to hide migrant crime, Denmark has the most transparent data on the topic of nearly any country in the Western world. It not only tracks migrant crime but also breaks down this data between European and non-European offenders.

According to the data, which was examined by French magazine RAGE, non-European migrants commit vastly more crimes than European migrants and Danish citizens. In fact, European migrants, such as those coming from Poland or Germany, are actually less likely to commit a crime than Danish citizens.

Not only are non-European migrants vastly overrepresented in the crime data, but for certain serious offenses like murder, assault, and rape, the overrepresentation is astounding.

For example, for murder, non-European first-generation migrants are 279 percent more likely to commit murder, 464 percent more likely to commit rape, 220 percent more likely to commit assault, and 53 percent more likely to commit drug trafficking.

However, Denmark goes even further and analyzes second-generation non-European migrants as well, and that is where even more troubling statistics are revealed. While the assumption is that these children of migrants would be better integrated than their parents, the opposite is found.

For murder, this group is 850 percent overrepresented, with astounding figures also for assault (443 percent) and drug trafficking (304 percent). The only category where this group is lower is in regards to rape (158 percent).

“From the second generation, the descendants of non-European immigrants peak at +98% overrepresentation in the crimes committed. Danish figures show that the second generation of non-European immigrants is less integrated than the first, and has an 18% higher chance than their parents of being tried for a crime,” writes RAGE magazine.

This type of detailed data, hardly present anywhere else in Western Europe, offers the Danish public a clear view on just how much of a burden non-European foreigners have been on the famously peaceful society.

Honest rhetoric

The honest data from Denmark also extends to the political rhetoric surrounding the issue of migration. The country does not shy away from pointing out the reality of the situation, with the left often just as open about their opposition to migration as the right.

This also applies to the country’s socialist prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, who said in 2020: “Every fifth young man with a non-Western background born in 1997 had broken the law before turning 21. It’s not everyone. But there are too many young men who take the freedom of others, steal children’s futures, intimidate prison guards – and leave behind a long trail of insecurity.”

“It has been going on for too many years. Girls who are called derogatory names because they are Danish. Or girls who are subjected to social control because they have become too Danish. A sausage cart in Brønshøj that is attacked with firecrackers because it sells pork,” she added.

Her candid description of the troubles Denmark faces from immigrant communities would not be out of place in a speech from France’s Marine Le Pen or from Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Yet, Frederiksen’s rhetoric on the issue has also been backed by action, and given her left-wing credentials, she has been remarkably immune from criticism from the international press, even if there are occasional hit pieces directed at her.

Demanding integration policies

Denmark’s integration efforts are also extremely rigorous, requiring immigrants to have a command of the Danish language, agree to the country’s values, and know its history. If immigrants are unable to pass the necessary tests in these areas, they will not receive citizenship.

Denmark’s policy flies in the face of current trends. In Germany, for example, the country’s left-liberal government is introducing a new law that will relax language standards for a wide range of migrants, including those over 65 years of age, as well as drop requirements for knowledge about Germany’s history and culture. Such lax requirements are likely to entice more immigrants, whereas many migrants know Denmark is not worth the effort.

Tough policies that discourage immigration

Any migrant issued a prison sentence, even a suspended one, is permanently barred from ever obtaining Danish citizenship. In addition, asylum seekers who show up at the border with jewelry, cash, or any other belongings can have them confiscated in order to cover the costs of processing their asylum claims and housing them.

While such measures may only serve as a minor deterrent for migrants individually, when they are added up, many migrants decide Denmark is best to be avoided. Furthermore, they serve as a symbol that the government and the people of Denmark are not especially keen on more immigrants, which serves as a powerful form of dissuasion in itself.

Explaining immigration’s costs from a left-wing perspective

The government uses novel arguments missing from the rhetoric of most politicians and activists on the conservative right. For example, the left-wing government points to the environmental costs of continuous population expansion due to immigration as well as the extreme burden on Denmark’s generous social welfare model.

In fact, the government describes Denmark’s model as a “social nationalism assumed in the name of the welfare state.” Denmark has recognized it cannot defend its generous social model with an open borders policy, as the world’s poor will swamp the country and, in turn, ruin what Danes have built up over centuries.

The government also openly argues that the small nation is not a country of immigration nor does it have any desire to become one.

Pressure rejected asylum seekers out of the country

For those migrants seeking social benefits in northern European countries, they have a tougher time of it in Denmark, especially if their asylum application is rejected. For asylum seekers with rejected claims, the Danish government halts benefits, allowances, and even sends them to prison, all in an effort to push them out of the country.

Just to the north, Sweden is notorious for handing out citizenship, even for the most questionable foreigners, many of whom feature criminal convictions and a poor lack of integration. Even those who have raped children, participated in gang rapes, or tortured their own pregnant girlfriend have been permitted to remain in the country. Sweden is just one of many Western countries that not only refuses to deport rejected asylum seekers, even those who are convicted of crimes, but also does not even bother reducing their social benefits and access to housing.

The Danish government has also advertised abroad, pointing out that the immigration process in Denmark is far less favorable than in other countries. These ads detail how new rules would see a 50 percent reduction in social benefits to new refugees and a one-year delay before they can apply for family reunification.

Although these ads may have little impact on foreigners’ desire to enter Europe, they most certainly discourage migrants from traveling to Denmark. They send a clear message that Denmark is unfriendly to the idea of mass immigration, and even if these ads do not directly reach every migrant, the core message from such ads often successfully travel by word of mouth. The sentiment expressed in these ads are also reinforced by the political class, such as Minister of Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye, who has gone on record saying multiple times that “my dream is zero asylum seekers.”

As a member of the EU, the Schengen Area, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Denmark has managed to pursue its unique policy by negotiating a series of derogations (op-outs) from various European treaties.

This allows the Danes to legally treat third-country nationals according to their own rules, and has led to Denmark’s groundbreaking program to send migrants to African countries while their asylum claims are being processed, a policy the EU has fiercely opposed but which is supported by the Danish public.

These legal carveout provisions are for the most part unique to Denmark, giving it more autonomy to deal with the issue of immigration. However, they highlight how institutions such as the ECHR and even the EU itself are designed in such a way to neuter countries’ ability to fight immigration and preserve their people, culture, and demographic future.

These international institutions and treaties also provide convenient excuses even for conservative governments, such as the Tories in the U.K. This party has for years promised to dramatically reduce immigration, only for the country to see a record number of foreigners arrive in 2022. The party often resorts to blaming the ECHR and international treaties for this development, but has shown little appetite for addressing the root cause of the problem.

For any national-conservative government serious about immigration, extricating their nation from these international agreements is likely to be a difficult yet necessary priority.

Success breeds success

The drastic policies implemented by Denmark have had two notable effects. First, the collapse of migrant flows. Immigration fell by 28 percent between 2014, the year before the refugee crisis, and 2019, the year before the Covid-19 health crisis. The total number of asylum applications fell by 82 percent, from 14,792 to 2,716, for a country of 5.8 million people. If this ratio were applied to France, the country would have only 31,000 asylum applications per year, compared to 132,000 in 2019. Just in 2022, France set a record in terms of immigration.

Denmark has one of the highest shares of ethnic Europeans in the country, and the share of non-European births in the country is at approximately 11 percent. In France, for example, it is estimated that 35 percent of all births are non-European, while in Germany it is 24 percent.

Even more remarkably, despite Denmark’s aggressive policies against mass immigration, the country has avoided the harsh scrutiny directed at conservative governments for voicing the same opposition to immigrants.

Denmark’s success against mass immigration begets more success, and such policies are consistently awarded at the ballot box. While Denmark’s society has some unique elements that enable it to go its own way on the issue of immigration, there is no doubt that if the rest of Europe emulated the country’s policies and attitude, both legal and illegal immigration would see dramatic reductions across the West.

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