In September 2013, Sweden pledged permanent residency for all Syrian refugees who sought asylum within its borders--the trick of course was that Syrians had to find a way to get there. A year later, waves of Syrians have arrived, the Swedish refugee system has begun to show signs of strain, and now some Swedes are questioning their country's immigration policy.
The town of Södertalje is known for its open-door policy toward refugees, especially Christian Syrians and Iraqis, who make up 30,000 of the town's 90,000 residents. Since the Syrian war began three years ago, the town has seen a marked increase in Syrian refugees resettling in Södertalje, and seeking housing, education, and other services.
In the small town of Fagersta in rural south-central Sweden, Lulu, an Arabic literature student from Yarmouk near Damascus, is still trying to adjust to her new life. She fled with her father to Greece in early 2014, and arrived in Sweden in March. Lulu has been blind since birth and chose Sweden because it has generous social services and open-minded people. Her sister, husband, and mother are still in Damascus and keep her constantly worried.