A watershed that may impact April’s parliamentary election

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Two hard-hitting editorials by Helsingin Sanomat on the mistreatment of labor migrants could indicate how the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset* will do in the parliamentary election. I make such a claim because I am an optimist.

We saw something similar in the US Midterm elections, which showed how voters rebuked Donald Trump and his election deniers.

Apart from two important editorials, good reporting on the case of a Mongolian nurse showed the good side of the media exposing and defending people’s rights.

The first Helsingin Sanomat editorial, published on Saturday, highlights what Migrant Tales mentioned weeks ago: Youth gang violence is a campaign topic for the opposition. The last one strongly criticizes the Finnish Immigration Service for arbitrarily mishandling Mongolian nurse Anudari Boldbaatar.

Struggling with the slow pace of due process in Finland to challenge Migri’s deportation order, a district court eventually overturned it, Boldbaatar had had enough and moved to another country.

I agree with both editorials and commend Finland’s biggest daily for speaking out against the hostile environment against migrants and minorities. The editorial on Boldbaatar asks how it is possible that Migri can ruin a person’s live and get away with an apology.

Source: Twitter

“The Agency [Migri] has traditionally played an important role in Finland’s immigration policy, mainly aimed at preventing foreigners from entering Finland.”

And that is still Migri’s primary goal: “Keep the trash out,” an academian who researched immigration told me over forty years ago. In the 1970s, when hundreds of thousands of Finns emigrated to Sweden after World War 2, Finland decided not to bring labor migrants. Imagine in 2015 when over 30,000 asylum seekers came to Finland, some of them are still waiting for their residence permits after seven years!

How is it possible, you may ask?

Easy, Migri aims to discourage you from staying in Finland.

Like Brexit was a shot on the United Kingdom’s foot, Finland’s Immigration Service and the hostile environment against migrants and people who aren’t white Finns are our “Brexit.”

Synonyms for Brexit are racism and hubris. The reasoning is that we don’t need the EU, the EU needs us. Let’s scapegoat migrants in the process, they are all at fault.

Such vanity is costing the UK political, social, and economic turmoil.

To make migration work in Finland means much more than just reforming Migri, but making Finnish society inclusive. Can we overcome denial?

We can, but much work needs to be done.

How can we measure our progress?

Elections and strong editorials by the media are just a few. As long as Finland’s biggest opposition party is openly hostile to migrants with others, like the National Coalition Party, support such policies, progress is slow.

If the PS suffer a big election upset in April, as their historic victory was in 2011, then matters are moving in the right direction.