She made a list of those critical of the proposed ‘informers act’
Hi there Patricia Lorenzoni, researcher at the Centre for Multidisciplinary Studies on Racism (CFR). You have drawn up a list of over 100 businesses, trade unions, and organisations, as well as municipalities and regions, that have publicly distanced themselves from an informers act in Sweden.
Why did you do this?
“This is an issue of interest to me in many roles: as a researcher who knows from my research about the conditions of and mechanisms affecting undocumented migrants; as a lecturer teaching in areas of great relevance to this proposal; as a public servant who wants to do their job, which does not include enforcing migration policy; as a citizen who does not want to see the emergence of an ‘informer society’ in Sweden, and as a fellow human being to those who are forced to live as undocumented migrants.”
How do you intend the list will be used?
“Two things prompted me make the list. One was an opinion piece by the Minister for Migration in August, in which she described the massive criticism as an expression of public officials’ feelings of repugnance. The second was that in some forums, I saw people calling into question the silence of specific unions regarding the informers act, saying things like ‘where are the teachers? where is the Swedish Association of Health Professionals?’ etc. And I thought to myself, I do remember seeing those unions speak out. So I thought, we need an overview here, so that those of us who are critical of this proposal can see how many have our back, but also so that our criticism cannot be dismissed as individual repugnance. Once I made the list, I was surprised at how long it turned out to be.”
What do you think the informers act could lead to at universities?
“There are many aspects to consider here, such as what this means for researchers who have projects involving undocumented migrants, for teaching staff who teach students who then go on to work in schools, health care or social services and so on. But I think above all we should be very clear about what an informer act forces public sector employees to do – which is racial profiling. According to the Tidö Agreement, public authorities are to have a responsibility to ensure that people we come into contact with have the right to reside in Sweden. But based on what indications? What does this mean for anyone at all who is not, in the eye of the beholder, unequivocally “Swedish”? The University is not just a public authority, it is also an international milieu for seeking knowledge and for teaching, and neither students nor employees at our University should be placed under suspicion.”
The Swedish Government wants employees in regions, municipalities and public authorities to be obliged to inquire into the legal right of persons to reside in the country and to report any undocumented migrants to the police and the Swedish Migration Agency. Informing obligation, reporting obligation and informer act are all different names for the proposal, which is currently the subject of an inquiry.