Immigrate to US? Norwegians cool to remarks by US President

OSLO • President Donald Trump's invitation to Norwegians to immigrate to the United States, while railing against entrants from "s***hole countries", has received a glacial reception in this Nordic country.

Mr Trump mentioned Norway in derogatory comments about other countries of migration as US senators briefed him last Thursday on a newly drafted bipartisan immigration Bill, according to two sources who asked not to be identified.

One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation quoted him as saying: "Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're s***hole countries...

"We should have more people from Norway."

In one of several Twitter posts last Friday, Mr Trump defended his stance on the bipartisan Senate immigration deal, but denied using the vulgar language ascribed to him.

Norwegians reacting on social media were in no hurry to relocate.

Last year, the Nordic nation was named the happiest country in the world.

"I'm a Norwegian who enjoyed studying and working in the US," declared Mr Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

"The only thing that would attract me to immigrate to the US is your vibrant multicultural society.

"Don't take that away."

Professor Christian Christensen, an American professor of journalism at Stockholm University in neighbouring Sweden, tweeted: "Of course people from #Norway would love to move to a country where people are far more likely to be shot, live in poverty, get no healthcare because they're poor, get no paid parental leave or subsidised daycare and see fewer women in political power. #S***hole"

While hundreds of thousands of Norwegians immigrated to the US in the 19th century, just 502 out of a population of 5.3 million people moved there in 2016, down 59 from the previous year, according to Statistics Norway.

"Will there be more now?" the statistics agency asked in a tweet.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 14, 2018, with the headline 'Immigrate to US? Norwegians cool to remarks by US President'. Print Edition | Subscribe