Halla-aho wants to ease deportation law

by , under Enrique

Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP Jussi Halla-aho and his far-right Suomen Sisu and anti-immigration cronies would like to tighten immigration laws further by making it easier to deport convicted foreigners, reports YLE in English

Presently, foreigners “may” be deported from Finland if they are convicted of a crime. Halla-aho wants the word “may” to be changed to “will” be deported.

If Halla-aho ever got his way, an adult who has lived most of his life in Finland but who isn’t a citizen would be automatically deported if he  or she committed a serious crime.

Halla-aho and his band appear to have nothing better to do except fuel suspicion and hostility towards certain groups like Muslims. Drafting laws that aim to ban circumcision or make it easier to deport convicted foreigners not only reveal their narrow-minded views, but their manifest contempt for diversity.

Their anti-immigration rhetoric and arguments, which have remained in a nineteenth-century time warp when Europe was a colonial power, have already struck a negative chord in Finland.

You know something has gone wrong for Halla-aho if even former interior minister,MP Kari Rajamäki, criticized the  proposal. He claimed that it was from the extremist Suomen Sisu associaiton.

Members of the PS, like anti-immigration hardliner MP Olli Immonen, didn’t take Rajamäki’s accusations lightly.  The MP, who is a Suomen Sisu member, said that Rajamäki was jealous of Halla-aho because he didn’t belong to the extremist association.

Racism and prejudice in Finland work in the same way here as elsewhere. Its main purpose is to show how different certain groups are in order to justify the existence of racism. If one looks at Halla-aho’s and the message of other anti-immigration politicians, it’s all about placing obstacles, victimizing and labeling whole groups wholesale to hinder their acceptance and integration.

Their message is reactive – rarely if ever proactive.

    • Mark

      Define a serious crime, please Jssk? And how do you feel about the right to a family life or to rehabilitation into society?

  1. Mark

    This issue comes up again and again. Usually, the Right wing say that it’s just not right that child killers and rapists are allowed to stay in Finland because of the ‘Right to Family’ law enshrined in EU legislation, which is the usual grounds for appeal against deportation.

    However, this argument clearly overstates the issue. In Finland, deportation was carried out most for aggravated drug crime and for violence. Of the recommendations for deportation, made mostly by the police, about 80% are passed by the Immigration Service, pending appeal. Appeals are made to an administration court.

    As far as Allah-oho’s recommendation is concerned, it’s clearly unworkable and will not pass EU scrutiny. It’s therefore pointless to try to implement such a plan.

    Although deportation for crimes relates to status before the law, deportation is processed by the Administrative court. I find this to be a gross violation of the citizen’s right to be regarded equally before the law. Clearly, immigrants are being treated as second class citizens with ‘additional’ penalties imposed beyond the criminal court because of one’s status as an immigrant. This total lack of equality strikes me as completely unjustified. The courts are there to decide how crimes are to be convicted and punished, and once that punishment is carried out, one assumes that the debt to society is paid, though in the case of some crimes, I do accept that the debt is never paid. But the idea that immigrants would automatically lose their right to family or to rehabilitation is disgusting.

    As most cases involve drugs, there is even an argument that this is not a criminal domain but a public health domain, and that this kind of punishment is a failure in the welfare system. People do fall into addiction. They need help, not a prison cell or deportation.

    Drug dealers are often users, while drug importers are rarely the ones that actually profit from the illicit business, but rathe the stooges pushed forward to carry the risks. Even small time dealers are often living in a drug sub-culture where their activity is not particularly or necessarily destructive to society. Criminalising this activity has created more problems than its solved.

    It would be better if Allah-oho was to offer better innovations in the fight to reduce drug-use and drug addiction rather than using this kind of crime as yet another excuse to beat up on the reputation of immigrants.

  2. JusticeDemon

    Nobody – including its sponsors – seriously believes that this private member’s bill has any prospects of becoming law, but as usual the media are grossly misrepresenting the issues.

    The bill may be viewed on the website of Parliament.

    Unlike a government bill, this private member’s bill has no parallel texts directly comparing the proposal with current legislation. It also lacks any detailed analysis of legal systematics, constitutional status or relationship to international commitments. There are no cost projections. There is no discussion of alternatives.

    The three-paragraph justification for the proposal begins by referring to a recent extreme and highly publicised incident. Evidently the sponsors of the bill have never heard of the maxim that hard cases make bad law.

    The second paragraph of the justification sets out the current content of section 149 of the Aliens Act. This would be better achieved by providing the parallel texts referred to above, so I can only assume that nobody at PS central office has mastered the use of sections, columns and tables in Microsoft Word.

    The third paragraph of the justification sets out the content of the proposed amendment:

    1) a change of wording from “may be deported” to “shall be deported”, seeking to reduce the discretionary powers of public authorities and the courts.
    2) a facility for indefinite administrative detention of individuals deported on grounds of criminality who cannot be expelled because no other country is willing to admit them.

    An obvious technical flaw illustrates that this proposal has been drafted by rank amateurs. Point (2) of the proposal is supposedly implemented by adding a new fifth subsection to section 149 of the Act:

    Jos karkottaminen on mahdotonta siksi, että mikään maa ei suostu ottamaan 1-4 momentissa tarkoitettua karkotettavaa henkilöä vastaan, hänet on pidettävä talteen otettuna, kunnes karkottaminen on mahdollista.

    The problem is that this applies to individuals “referred to in subsections 1-4”, which therefore includes those referred to in point 1 of subsection 1 (individuals residing in Finland without the required residence permit). In other words, the proposal requires indefinite administrative incarceration of foreigners who have committed no criminal offence at all. Section 40 of the Aliens Act makes it clear that there are many circumstances in which foreigners may remain quite lawfully in Finland without a residence permit, and even when such continued residence does constitute an offence, then it is certainly not an offence for which the maximum prescribed penalty is imprisonment for at least one year.

    A charitable interpretation is that the authors of the bill really intended to refer to “points 2-4 of subsection 1” (though this also includes non-offenders with certain types of psychiatric disorder).

    Even so, the private members’ bill also quietly deletes the last two sentences of subsection 4 of section 149, despite the fact that this passage is a stipulation in ordinary law corresponding to the principle of non refoulement enshrined in subsection 4 of section 9 of the Constitution Act. There is not a whisper of explanation for this given in the private member’s bill. They simply think that nobody is watching.

    The private member’s bill assumes that all deportees are a danger to public safety. This is most certainly not the case. There are several deportable offences (i.e. criminal offences for which the maximum prescribed penalty is imprisonment for at least one year) that involve no violence at all. These include false statement in official proceedings (RL 15:2), falsification of evidence (RL 15:7), breach of a business prohibition (RL 16:11), offering bribes (RL 16:3), money collection offences (RL 17:16b), incest (RL 17:22), tax fraud (RL 29:1) and many others. Is the intention here to bang up a Vietnamese restaurateur for the rest of his life for failing to submit accurate VAT returns?

    The need for basic cost projections when proposing indefinite administrative detention should be obvious to anyone with half a brain. It might be worthwhile asking what the impact of such a measure will be on the taxpayer before locking up some 25 year-old Iraqi pizzeria owner for an estimated 50 years for attempting to reduce the employment pension insurance premiums payable on behalf of his employees (RL 29:4a).

    The proposed shift from “may be deported” to “shall be deported” has attracted a degree of attention that is disproportionate to its practical impact. The implication is that the deportation process is not applied in cases where prima facie grounds for deportation exist. Anyone who is familiar with this branch of public administration will agree that local police stations always initiate preliminary proceedings to at least investigate the grounds for deportation, and on compiling a prima facie case they always submit this to the Finnish Immigration Service for full consideration. Deportation initiatives fail in practice not because of a lack of zeal on the part of public authorities, but due to legal and practical obstacles that have nothing to do with the wording of the deportation provision in the Aliens Act.

  3. Jssk

    Define a serious crime, please Jssk? And how do you feel about the right to a family life or to rehabilitation into society?

    For example a crime that causes permanent and serious harm to another person. I personally think there should be more harsh punishments for violent crimes.

    • Mark

      Jssk

      Define permanent damage. Do you mean losing a tooth? What if the damage is accidental, i.e. a push that leads to someone falling over? What if there was provocation?

  4. Farang

    Mark

    What if there was provocation?

    This comment tells all about your morale. You justify violence with words. In your opinion it is acceptable to use physical violence if someone says you bad words.

    • Mark

      Farang

      When your kids fight, what do you do, do you say, there’s fighting, that’s it, everyone loses their privileges? Or do you sit down with them and try to understand who has done what and why? Trying to understand the causes of conflict and violence is not weakness or justifying violence, it’s about trying to get at the cause. The same is true of any conflict. However, when the cause is prejudice or ignorance, you have to take a moral stand.

  5. Jssk

    Jssk

    Define permanent damage. Do you mean losing a tooth? What if the damage is accidental, i.e. a push that leads to someone falling over? What if there was provocation?

    I said permanent AND serious damage. Losing a teeth is not very serious, i ment crippling injuries. Of course the reasons for the injury are taken into account. Self defence situations are another thing.

    • JusticeDemon

      Jssk

      I said permanent AND serious damage. Losing a teeth is not very serious, i ment crippling injuries.

      I am surprised that you are so liberal, Jssk. Your approach would increase the deportation threshold very considerably.

      The current statutory definition of common assault (RL 21:5) requires no such damage, but this is a deportable offence.

      Of course the reasons for the injury are taken into account. Self defence situations are another thing.

      This comment suggests that you do not understand Finnish deportation provisions at all. A person can be convicted of common assault even in cases where the extenuating circumstances are so strong that punishment is waived. This is still a deportable offence.

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