More cake for Støjberg? Denmark passes 100th immigration law in just a few years

Experts critical of hasty legislation policy on immigration arena

The Danish immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, hit the front pages of newspapers across the country and beyond in March 2017 when she put up a photo of herself having a cake in celebration of passing the 50th law cracking down on immigration in Denmark.

Now, the minister has reached yet another milestone after it emerged that the government reached the 100 mark just before Christmas – all passed over the past 3.5 years.

But there is no cause for celebration, maintains legal expert Bjørn Elmquist.

“It’s rather a monument of sloppy legislation. I think it’s difficult to keep up. There are provisions upon provisions and everything is done in great haste,” Elmquist, the head of the Judicial Policy Association, told DR Nyheder.

“It’s a universal principle that legislation must be transparent and predictable, but here the opposite is the case. It’s left citizens completely helpless as they have minimal chance of getting an overview of the laws.”

READ MORE: If they don’t like my rules, let them eat cake, says Danish integration minister

A to Z of Paragraph 9 
Elmquist uses the Immigration Law paragraph 9, which concerns residency in Denmark, as an example.

The law contained four provisions when it was initially passed back in 1983. But today, it contains a whopping 37 provisions – despite Justice Ministry recommendations stipulating that paragraphs rarely should have more than three to four provisions.

The paragraph has also been expanded to include 9a, 9b, 9c and all the way up to 9p – so in total 159 separate pieces of legal text. And it doesn’t look like the government has plans to wane its formidable pace on the immigration legislation arena anytime soon.

The push continues …
A new 278-page proposal on immigration was sent to a hearing in late December and is scheduled to be acted upon later this month. Not much time to properly assess the law.

“The hearing time limit is far too short. It concerns extremely complex legislation that impacts a lot of people and it risks having consequences for the judicial security of the citizens,” Josephine Fock, the head of aid organisation Dansk Flygtningehjælp, told DR Nyheder.

“I know that politicians are dependent on receiving the correct counsel, so it’s imperative that the hearing partners have time to develop qualified hearing responses.”

So far, Støjberg hasn’t produced any celebratory cake photos to mark the century of laws occasion, but the front page of the Immigration Ministry does include a banner (see below) that points out the century mark – and the associated law alterations.