There's something missing from the European immigrant crime wave narrative

A recent piece in the New York Times describes a disturbing trend in Sweden --- weapons of war, including hand grenades and AK-47s, have been flowing into immigrant-heavy neighborhoods.

An article in The Spectator sketches Swedish streets as immigration-fueled warzones: Dutch exchange student killed by a stray bullet during an execution-style murder at a pizzeria; an uptick in gun violence; a deluge of hand grenade attacks in areas comprised mainly of immigrants. Paramedics and firefighters allegedly can’t enter certain neighborhoods without heavily armed police escorts.

The author, Paulina Neuding, laments that a rising tide of violence is “what happens when you fail to integrate immigrants and instead tolerate the creation of a society within a society.” It’s not clear that violent crime is soaring, as the title of her piece declares.

Tino Sanandaji points out, in National Review, that some types of crime have gone up in Sweden (gang shooting, arson and sexual assault), while others have decreased (assault, car thefts and property crimes). These changes track fairly well with international trends.

Nonetheless, Neuding is probably onto something. The Scandinavian country has substantially increased its share of non-Western immigrants and asylum seekers in recent years, and we cannot fully dismiss the anecdotal evidence of flare-ups in immigrant communities.

Sanandaji wrote an earlier piece exploring the potential causes of the 2013 Stockholm riots, in which schools, cultural centers and well over 100 cars were torched in the predominantly immigrant suburb of Husby.

He ultimately points to the Swedish government’s generosity as the culprit. The robust social safety net in Sweden, from which immigrants pull more than their native-born neighbors, creates a “welfare trap.” But the economic disincentive to work is only half the story for Sanandaji. He also criticizes Swedish political elites for espousing multiculturalism, which encourages non-European implants to cling to their own customs, values and habits.

A 2003 study found immigrants in Sweden were more likely to use welfare services than natives.

He’s more or less right in his observations. A 2003 study found immigrants in Sweden were more likely to use welfare services than natives. And various “multicultural” policies from European policymakers have had adverse effects on assimilation.

Both authors appear to be correct on their assessments of poor integration, as well. A 2015 analysis of 27 different indicators of immigrant integration across EU and OECD nations found substantial problems with immigrant assimilation in Europe, particularly for non-European immigrants, while the findings for the United States were positive. In America, immigrants are overwhelmingly patriotic and draw fewer welfare benefits than their native counterparts. Importantly, American immigrants tend to commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens.

Are America’s integration successes linked to a more prudent welfare allowance for immigrants and government policies, which encourage adoption of Western norms and values? That’s likely part of it, but Sanandaji’s causal story lacks a critical link.

Swedish immigrants aren’t just avoiding work because they’d rather fall back on cushy government benefits. An analysis of Europe’s assimilation of Muslim immigrants relative to the United States revealed that it’s much more difficult to find work as an immigrant in Europe than in America.

In the United States, immigrants have a lower unemployment rate than natives. Conversely, most European countries show a significantly higher unemployment rate for immigrants, particularly for non-EU migrants. Unemployment among foreign-born men in Sweden is over 16 percent compared to less than seven percent native-born men, and foreign-born women face a 15 percent unemployment rate compared to six percent for native-born women. These disparities are significantly worse for African and Asian immigrants.

A variety of labor controls, including minimum wages, collective bargaining and severe legal liability for firing employees have made it expensive for Swedish employers to hire new workers. The labyrinth of regulations have been crushing employment opportunities for immigrants (particularly Muslim immigrants) and their children for decades. That these same people seem content to collect a government check makes more sense in light of their employment plight.

Meanwhile, the United States is the least regulated labor market among the developed countries analyzed in the Cato report. American labor markets are much less rigid than their European counterparts and thus significantly less likely to disadvantage immigrants in employment, Muslim or otherwise. This helps to explain the higher employment of immigrants in the U.S. labor market. Cato’s analysis concludes that “European labor market controls and regulations explain the differences between American and European outcomes.”

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for solving Sweden’s problem.

These findings are necessary in any conversation on this topic, because a vast body of research suggests that employment is strongly associated with crime avoidance, as is unemployment with criminal activity. Unsurprisingly, one study found that “we can in general explain between 50% and 80% of the gap in crimes between children of immigrants and children with a native-Swedish background with family resources (e.g. employment and education) and neighborhood segregation.”

Having a job facilitates the development of meaningful relationships with other citizens, increases skills and language proficiency, boosts self-esteem, and offers hope for the future. This is as true for native-born citizens as it is for immigrants. Any conversation about immigrant crime in Europe that leaves out employment, then, is incomplete.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for solving Sweden’s problem. Integration is a gradual process and immigrant enclaves have formed over decades. Still, it’s nothing short of a fool’s errand to greet newcomers with a maze of obstacles to employment, materially incentivize them to stay home in the likely event that they can’t find work, and expect them to become flag-flying patriots.

Our European friends are typically skeptical of anything that smacks of Americanism, but they would benefit from occasionally copying our notes. Until that happens, much of the ongoing anxiety regarding immigration-related crime will persist. But both research and experience tell us the first step should be letting immigrants get jobs.

MORE FROM YOUNG VOICES

Jonathan Haggerty is a justice policy analyst at R Street Institute and a Young Voices Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @JHaggrid.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.