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Sweden May Deport Up To 80,000 Migrants, Refugees

Sweden may deport up to 80,000 migrants, including refugees, who have requested asylum in the country.

In 2015, 163,000 migrants applied for asylum in Sweden, the highest per capita number in Europe, BBC News reports.

Fifty-five percent of the 58,800 processed asylum cases in 2015 were accepted.

Tens of thousands of applicants who have been rejected now face deportation.

"We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000,” Anders Ygeman, Sweden’s Interior Minister, was quoted in Swedish media as saying, according to BBC News.

The deportations may require the use of charter aircraft and will take years to perform.

Mikael Ribbenvik, Head of Operations at the Swedish Migration Agency, told BBC News that assessing all of the asylum applications would be “an enormous feat to accomplish.”

"A lot of people leave voluntarily and a lot of people abscond," Ribbenvik added. "And then we have a few people that are staying on that are impossible to remove because of identification purposes.

As early as November 2015, Sweden implemented measures to deter asylum seekers.

The country, who formerly had an open-door policy towards people fleeing war and persecution, said it was reverting to the “[European Union] minimum level” of refugees, The Guardian reported.

“We are adapting Swedish legislation temporarily so that more people choose to seek asylum in other countries ... We need respite,” Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Prime Minister, said at the time, according to The Guardian.

“It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today," he added. "We simply cannot do any more."

Under the new measures, Sweden only offers temporary residence permits to refugees they are obligated to help according to European Union and United Nations rules and conventions, The Local reported. This new rule will apply for three years. The country also instituted a strict family reunification time limit, the necessity of unaccompanied children’s ages to be medically verified, and the enforcement of ID checks on all modes of transportation into the country.

In late 2015, Sweden reinstated border controls for all travelers to the country, which includes those from EU-member countries.

Sources: BBC News, The Guardian, The Local / Photo Source: Freedom House/Flickr, Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr

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