Norway is standing up at last, and here is how from reporter Virginia Kruta.
While many have been focusing on the crisis in western Europe following terrorist attacks in Paris that were at least in part tied to Syrian refugees, migrants are also having a profound impact much farther north.
The Russian/Norwegian border has become a target for many migrants despite the increasingly arctic temperatures, simply because it cuts out the necessity of a water crossing.
But recent relations between Russia and Norway have complicated things, and the increased expense due to thousands of refugees – with more coming every day – has placed a strain on the Norwegian economy.
It’s become such a strain that Norway has offered financial assistance – travel expenses plus a cash bonus – to migrants who voluntarily leave the country and return home.
And some are taking them up on the offer, especially after learning that the asylum process – due to increased demand and underfunding – would take months, and that they wouldn’t likely find work quickly or have the ability to send for family members.
Norway isn’t breaking new ground with this policy, however.
In 2013, faced with a similar crisis, Italy paid African migrants a small sum if they relocated to Germany. Israel drew harsh criticism when, in May of 2015, it began a similar repatriation program for African refugees living within their borders.
However, the criticism of Israel may have stemmed from the fact that, in contrast to the economic concerns raised by Italy and Norway, Israel cited “the preservation of Ethnic integrity” for its program.