YLE: Another feather in Finland’s media immigration hysteria hat

by , under All categories, Enrique

As the political climate gets tenser in Finland due to the recession, a good example of another red herring threat caused by immigration is a news story by YLE on Wednesday that claims that 3,200 foreign nationals were  not allowed to enter Finland illegally, according to the Finnish Border Guard.

These types of stories of the “threat” of outsiders are becoming more common and fueling a collective hysteria against immigrants and people coming from outside Finland (especially Russia). While the law should do everything possible to thwart illegal immigration, such claims must be put into perspective.

Perspective 1: Over 3 million tourists come to Finland (not mentioned in the story because it would deflate much of its strength) and 3,200 is a drop in the bucket, or about 0.01%.  Should the headline read: “Thanks to the efforts of the Finnish Border Guard, only 0.01% of tourists attempt to enter Finland illegally?” A bit misleading, no? What about this one: “Illegal immigration not an issue because 0.01% attempted to enter Finland with forged documents?”

Perspective 2: Why was this story published and why didn’t YLE give comparative figures on the total number of tourists or compared it with last year’s figures? The answer is obvious: laziness and sloppy reporting.

Perspective 3: Another interesting claim made by the Finnish Border Guard is that all of these illegals would end up human-trafficking victims in Finland or in other countries.How do they know this? That is a claim not a fact but serves to fuel anti-immigration/anti-Russian hysteria.

  1. JusticeDemon

    One footnote on your perspective 3. The last sentence of the introductory paragraph of the YLE News article differs from the last sentence of the article itself in the use of mahdollisesti. This is clearly lazy journalism, and I wonder whether the introduction and the rest of the article were written by the same person.

    There is also a significant problem in describing anything as illegal when it cannot even in principle be examined a court of law. Visa applications fall into this category of administrative matters that cannot be materially reviewed by the courts. The contrast is with applications for residence permits. Decisions on these applications are appealable to the Administrative Court of Helsinki.

    It is at least worth noting that Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad lost the formal right to decide residence permit applications some years ago when it became clear that they lacked the resources and ability to apply the most basic legal safeguards. One case that I pursued through a long and complex process in the late 90s is described in this link beginning on page 312. The Supreme Administrative Court eventually overturned the entire process in this case and cancelled the decision of the Finnish Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, in response to an extraordinary review petition.

    The shortcomings (or spectacular incompetence) exposed in that process naturally lead to the question of how many comparable errors occurred in those 3,200 cases. With no proper judicial review process in place, there is simply no way to tell.

    Obviously the use of illegal in the YLE News article was quite trivial. The sense in which every application for a visa that is turned down for any reason can be called an attempt at illegal entry is precisely the sense in which everyone who tries the door of Alko at one minute past 8 p.m. on a Friday may be held to have attempted an illegal heist of a liquor store.

  2. hannu

    “Perspective 1: Over 3 million tourists come to Finland”

    And all are from countries what needs tourist visa?

    “Perspective 2: Why was this story published and why didn’t YLE give comparative figures on the total number of tourists or compared it with last year’s figures?”

    Why stories are published?
    What part of “Kiireisintä yhdyshenkilöillä on Pietarissa, jossa vuosittain haetaan ja myönnetään Suomeen yli 500 000 viisumia. 1 500 henkilön matka Suomeen tyssäsi viime vuonna Pietariin. ” isnt comparing?

    “Perspective 3: Another interesting claim made by the Finnish Border Guard is that all of these illegals would end up human-trafficking victims in Finland or in other countries.”

    They didnt claim that.

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