Uninteded Consequences

2 Apr

European policy often has unintended consequences. Such is the case of European immigration policy, where Sweden is reporting that refugees applying for asylum are mutilating their fingers. The asylum-seekers are cutting or burning their fingertips to remove their fingerprints to avoid being identified by EU authorities. Why?

The EU has a joint database where all asylum-seekers' prints are stored.

If migration officials discover applicants have already had their case heard in another EU state, they are liable to be sent back.

About 5% of the 26,000 fingerprints taken since January of 2003 are illegible, many clearly as a result of self-mutilation. Why would asylum seekers inflict such pain to be able to apply for asylum a second time Says Swedish Migration Board member Bengt Hellstroem:

The pain you feel for that short period is perhaps worth it to be able to stay in Sweden your entire life.

I can see that as Sweden's next tourist campaign: "Sweden — it's worth the short term pain."

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