Denmark’s plan to deal with migrants is straight out of a teen sci-fi drama

A view of Lindholm island, Denmark, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. A pro-government lawmaker acknowledged that Danish plans to banish rejected asylum-seekers or those with a criminal record to a remote island may breach international law, but added that his party doesn't mind "challenging (international) conventions." (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

This past week, the country of Denmark announced a plan earlier this week to banish “unwanted migrants” to a small, remote island. However, this is no tropical vacation for these people. In fact, the island currently is used for housing equipment and remains of studies on contagious animal diseases.

One of only two ferries that are in use to service the island is nicknamed “the Virus.” To make matters even worse, among the people they are proposing to put on this island are criminals and people who have been rejected after seeking asylum. So, you might be starting to understand why this banishment seems a little iffy.

If you’ve ever watched the show “The 100” you might think this concept sounds a little familiar. Basically, this show takes place in a future where Earth is uninhabitable and the only community of known humans lives in a spaceship-esque floating town in the sky. However, as overpopulation threatens to ruin the community, the leaders decide to send 100 teenaged-criminals back to Earth to find out if they’ll die of radiation poisoning.

A lot more happens in the show that I won’t get into, but you can see how the concept parallels this real-life situation in Denmark. However, one major difference is that everything that happens in “The 100” is completely fictionalized, while the decisions being made in Denmark are actually happening. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think any sort of sci-fi show on The CW should ever come remotely close to real-life scenarios. If this is some sort of “life imitating art,” I’m not buying it.

In addition to this plan being absurd for the fact that its logic follows that of a teen TV drama, it is also wildly inhumane. This plan was created and approved by the right-wing Danish People’s Party along with the Danish government, and by 2021 is supposed to be fully put into action with as many as 100 people being forced to occupy the aforementioned Lindholm Island.

Before then, the island will need to be decontaminated and made fit for inhabitants. Banishing people to another place seems like something we would do in medieval times when a person betrayed our kingdom, not something we should do in the modern age. Especially, when the place of banishment needs to undergo decontamination of infectious diseases before it is deemed suitable for human life.

The fact that a progressive country like Denmark would think this is an acceptable way to deal with people they think are unwanted is unacceptable. Not only does this decision show that these people are considered useless to the Danish government, the government flat-out told them they feel this way.

Denmark’s immigration minister Inger Støberg wrote in a Facebook post saying, “If you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance to ordinary Danes…They are undesirable in Denmark, and they must feel it”. These words are hurtful and speak to the view our world currently holds when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, such as the immigrant crisis we are currently seeing. This inability to empathize and offer support to those in need is sweeping across the globe and allowing these controversial actions to take place in Denmark will just encourage other countries to do the same.

I won’t pretend to understand how the Danish prison system works, nor do I know all of the facts of the migrant crisis currently occurring in Europe. However, I do know that basic human decency should not allow us to banish people to an island in order to deal with our problems. Our world’s view on what is acceptable seems extremely twisted these days, and this is only proven further by Denmark’s decision. While the answer to this problem may not be obvious, it is obvious that this situation is not being handled correctly. Our planet is in dire need of a wake up call by way of our sense of morals, and hopefully Denmark will get just that.


Emma Hungaski is the associate opinion editor  for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at emma.hungaski@uconn.edu.