JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Pirate Party Defeated In Iceland—Failed Asylum Seekers Must Go Elsewhere
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

We don’t get much news out of Iceland. It’s another one of those un-newsworthy places, like Uruguay or New Zealand, slumbering in quiet, contented prosperity away from the noise and fuss that prevails elsewhere. When we do get news out of Iceland it’s usually generated by Mother Nature, not by Her human children: a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.

So it’s good to see that when the Icelanders themselves generate news, it’s news of a happy sort, at any rate from the National Conservative point of view.

So it was this week. More precisely, last week: on June 13th Iceland’s parliament, the Althing (founded 930 A.D., one the world’s oldest surviving parliaments), passed an immigration bill that mainly targets asylum seekers.

I should say, just to clarify, that the phrase ”asylum seekers here is not being used in the loose way we’ve become accustomed to from our own media, to refer to anyone at all who wanders into your country without going through proper immigration procedures, whether or not they bother actually to seek asylum. Here it means illegal border-crossers who really do claim asylum, truly or falsely, on the grounds they were persecuted back home.

This bill that was just passed decrees that if an alien’s asylum claim is rejected, he will lose all access to benefits—housing, healthcare, and so on—after thirty days.

That sounds fair to me. This report I’m reading, however, says that

Human rights organisations in Iceland have strongly opposed the bill, including the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Amnesty International. 

Reading that makes the bill sound even better.

The Minister of Justice who signed the bill is Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir

Iceland has one of those parliamentary systems in which different parties, in this case three different parties, form a coalition to legislate and govern. All the members of parliament from all three of the coalition parties voted for this bill.

I was amused to see that one of the lesser parties voting against the bill was the Pirate Party, which holds six seats in the Althing and is apparently libertarian—I wrote about them in 2016.

Pictured below: Ásta Helgadóttir, a Pirate Party MP at the time:

For the tendency of Scandinavian female politicians to look like that, rather than like Hillary Clinton, see here, here, here, and here.

The Pirates submitted more than twenty amendments to the bill, but only one was approved.

One of the Pirate Party MPS sputtered angrily that, quote:

This issue confirms the stance I’ve held for a long time, which is that this government is hostile to refugees.

One reason this bill came forward was that Iceland has been brisk about deportations of failed asylum seekers, including in recent years an Iraqi man in a wheelchair and an Albanian woman in her ninth month of pregnancy. The human-rights people raised protests; the politicians figured the law needed firming up.

A rather nifty YouTube video I discovered when browsing tells me that the main source countries for immigrants to Iceland are currently, in order: Poland (way out ahead), Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, the Philippines, Norway, Romania, Thailand, the U.K., Latvia, Portugal, and the USA.

I dunno: Seems to me that where Iceland’s immigration policy is concerned, there’s a lot to like.


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.


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