U.S. Must Learn European Immigration Lessons

“Change” is less a word than a mantra in the current US presidential campaign. But, just as important as knowing when to call for change is knowing when to recognize it is already happening — even though it may not help a candidate’s agenda to do so.

Changes now taking place in Europe — which some US presidential candidates either appear to be overlooking or ignoring — may well overcome their promises and platforms. At first blush, changes taking place in tiny Denmark may not seem of much import to the US. But they are exceedingly important, for they portend an evolving threat to Western freedoms created by those opposed to the very rights and freedoms they are manipulating to increase their own anti-democracy influence.

Denmark was once a country with an extremely liberal immigration policy. Today it has one of the strictest in Europe. Why? A recipe for social disaster was at play in Denmark. Take a very liberal post-World War II immigration policy, combine it with a very generous welfare program, mix in Muslim immigrants demonstrating a stubborn unwillingness to integrate into Danish society while enjoying welfare status, add a dash of reality that that Muslim population is rapidly outgrowing the native one, and it does not take long to create a bankrupt state nurturing an anti-democratic guest population and seeking to eventually replace the host country’s laws and culture with its own. Susan MacAllen, an American citizen who lived in Denmark, last year wrote a fascinating, but frightening, article for Family Security Matters providing specifics as to how this happened and the steps being taken to reverse course.

Supporting MacAllen’s concerns are statistics from a 2002 article by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard. They point out that Danish Muslims, while making up only five percent of the population, consume 40% of welfare spending and are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of the nation’s crime. Recognizing increasing population numbers favor them, Muslim leaders “openly declare their goal of introducing Islamic law once Denmark’s Muslim population grows large enough.”

In appreciation of the Danish landlord opening up his home to an economically-depressed tenant to live rent free, the tenant shows his appreciation by now threatening to take over home ownership. As a result, not only have immigration laws been severely tightened, but there is even a prohibition against building mosques — used as centers to promote anti-Western values — because they were becoming hotbeds of hatred.

Denmark’s realization of the threat within has now also led to a change in dealing with the threat without. It has been one of the few NATO allies committed to fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, recently vowing to increase force levels there. The role Denmark has undertaken in making changes is being perceived by other astute leaders as the proverbial “canary in the mineshaft.” With an ever-increasing toxic cloud threatening the canary’s safety, a change in environment is urgently required.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy seems to understand the warning signs as well. In his campaign last year, he vowed change. Undoubtedly the violence in Muslim slum areas outside of Paris that rocked the country in 2005, only to be repeated in 2006, was a factor in this.

So too was the appeasement policy French police followed in deciding not to go into such areas out of fear it would trigger more violence. But upon winning the election, Sarkozy did what the Danes had, imposing stricter law enforcement and immigration policies. Recognizing historically silent majorities have served as enablers empowering the rise of tyrants and demagogues, Sarkozy has made clear Paris will not tolerate intolerance.

Just this month he stated he would refuse to shake hands with those who refuse to recognize Israel, putting them on notice he plans to attend Israel’s 60th anniversary celebrations in May. He has made it clear too the West cannot simply stand idly by as Iran develops nuclear technology seeking to create its own caliphate-like world order.

As flood waters on a river start to rise, those most concerned about taking action against the overflow, becoming the first to start filling sandbags to build a protective wall, are, obviously, those nearest the water’s edge. Oftentimes those further away, eventually impacted, are those who chose either to ignore the danger as it mounted or prepared a less-than-adequate defensive wall. Some European leaders now understand democracy has allowed a river of Islamic extremism to run through it.

Standing on the banks of this river, they have started to build a protective wall against the overflow. Meanwhile, here in the US, many of our leaders fail even to see a need to start filling sandbags — let alone acknowledge the river is rising. Change is not always for the better. It is important our presidential candidates be able to understand the difference.