Finnish Social Democratic Party (SDP) chairperson Jutta Urpilainen explained (in Finnish) in an MTV3 blog what she meant on March 20 that immigrants must abide by Finnish laws (“maassa maan tavalla” policy).
There are many good reasons why SDP’s immigration policy has the appearance of what the anti-immigration True Finns have been driving home all the time. For one, the leadership of the party believes that voters want a tough line on immigration and, especially, against Muslim groups. The party’s new immigration policy must be inspired by former hardline interior minister, Kari Rajamäki.
The SDP believes that populism will help lure voters from the True Finns camp in next year’s parliamentary elections.
Urpilainen tells us incredulously in her blog that when people come to Finland they must live under Finnish laws and norms. The statement reeks of populism. Is she stating that immigrants are potential criminals and therefore must be told to live under our laws and norms? Has she forgotten about our values on equality and diversity enshrined in our Constitution and Non-Discrimination Act?
Most of her comments are full of hollow catchwords that have been heard before. What happens in practice is a totally different story. The Social Democrats have not shown much leadership in the past to resolve social inequalities and high unemployment among the immigrant community in Finland.
Too many immigrants in Finland live marginalized from society due to high unemployment and an integration policy that is a failure. The laws of the land are not applied equally to the immigrant community when it comes to discrimination and equality.
Instead of asking future immigrants to follow the laws of the land, which is important, Urpilainen should ensure that those laws are applied fairly to everyone as well.