Magnús Thor Hafsteinsson MP for the Liberal Party and former chairman of the office of social affairs in Akranes, was against the arrival of 30 refugees from Iraq to Akranes this summer. He has been highly criticized for his opinion on the matter. In the latest issue of Heimaskagi, the Liberal Party's newspaper, he explains his point of view.
"Based on the short notice we were given, little time for preparation, not enough information about the people and their background and the current situation in Akranes, I don't believe it's the right time to agree to accommodate refugees. As chairman of the office of social affairs, I cannot recommend this" Hafsteinsson wrote in Heimaskagi.
"This is impossible.We are talking about 60 people in two years in a village where the budget is tight. To even think of bringing people in from refugee camps, who have experienced so much and have to be under constant care of the administration of social affairs, is nonsense. This would mean that the total amount of foreigners in Akranes would rise to ten percent of the entire population, ten percent of which would be refugees." Hafsteinsson wrote.
Hafsteinsson ends his article by concluding "It is our main duty as a community to care for our own people[…] I'm not going to look into the eyes of our people and make budget cuts while accommodating around hundred immigrants at the same time. If the community of Akranes wants to help people; we should rather aid the Red Cross or those organizations that work in refugee camp, instead of bringing the problem to our town"
Hafsteinsson has resigned as chairman of the office of social affair in Akranes. The town council held an open meeting earlier this week to discuss the arrival of the refugees. The meeting ended with ovation. Morgundbladid reports.
Source: Iceland Review (English)
See also: Iceland: Town receives Palestinian refugees