President Donald Trump’s recent comments about immigration in Sweden made many question the inspiration behind his statement, but the country was tops in Europe for having the highest percentage of foreign born individuals living there last year.
“We’ve got to keep our country safe,” Trump said during a speech in Florida on Saturday. “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”
Because there were no widespread reports coming from Sweden in the previous 24 hours, many pundits wondered aloud: What exactly was the president referring to when he said “last night in Sweden”?
Trump would later say he was citing a Fox News report from Friday night about how “Sweden has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees and rape and violence has since skyrocketed.”
The truth of the matter is 18.3 percent of the Swedish population was classified as foreign born, according to statistics from last year, which were the most up to date available. That was the “greatest increase” in all of Europe, a Pew Research center analysis found in June.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström responded to Trump’s claims on Monday.
The number of application from refugees seeking asylum in Sweden was down to a 5-year low, Sputnik News reported earlier this month. At most, 45,000 refugees were expected to apply for asylum in Sweden this year, compared to 160,000 in 2015. The country’s temporary border control policies expired Feb. 11, which would indicate the threat of foreign born and refugee-associated violence was likely dissipating.
Just five people have been convicted of terror related crimes in Sweden, according to a report published Tuesday. That was out of 34 people being arrested and/or detained over the last 15 years, when a set of terrorism laws were introduced.