Trump pursues his attack on Sweden, with little evidence

The New York Times reports: President Trump escalated his attack on Sweden’s migration policies on Monday, doubling down on his suggestion — based on a Fox News report — that refugees in the Scandinavian country were behind a surge in crime and terrorism.

Mr. Trump set off consternation and ridicule on Saturday when he seemed to falsely imply to a throng of supporters at a rally in Florida that a terrorist attack had occurred in Sweden, which has admitted tens of thousands of refugees in recent years.

On Sunday, as questions swirled, a White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that “he was talking about rising crime and recent incidents in general, not referring to a specific issue.”

Mr. Trump then said on Twitter that he was referring to a Fox News segment about an American filmmaker who argues that the police in Sweden are covering up a migrant-driven crime wave.

Officials in both countries expressed alarm and dismay at Mr. Trump’s remarks. Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said the president should get his information from intelligence agencies and not from television. The Swedish Embassy in Washington offered the Trump administration a briefing on its immigration policies. On Monday, Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, said he was surprised by Mr. Trump’s comments, and noted that Sweden ranked highly on international comparisons of economic competitiveness, human development and income inequality. [Continue reading…] reports: Sweden saw a dramatic increase in asylum applicants in 2015, with more than 162,000 people arriving in the country, according to the Swedish Migration Agency. Of those, more than 51,000 were from Syria, with another roughly 42,000 from Afghanistan and 21,000 from Iraq. All told, Sweden has taken in nearly 200,000 refugees and migrants in recent years, more than any other country per capita in Europe, the BBC reported.

That’s a big number for a country with a population just under 10 million. (By way of reference, a comparable number based on the population of the U.S. would come to about 5.2 million. President Barack Obama set the level of refugees the U.S. would accept in fiscal year 2017 at 110,000 before he left office, but Trump cut that number to no more than 50,000.)

While there has been an uptick in some crime categories, government statistics from Sweden do not corroborate the claim of a major crime wave due to immigrants.

According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), lethal violence (murder, manslaughter and assault that results in death) totaled 112 victims in 2015. That’s up by 25 (a sizable increase) from 2014, but it’s about the same as the number in 2007, which was 111 victims.

“In a long-term perspective, ever since the 1990’s when Brå started the measurements, the trend shows that lethal violence is declining,” the website says. [Continue reading…]

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