A Cameroonian’s rendezvous with near-deportation in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

After publishing the detention of an Iraqi asylum seeker in Lappeenranta on Tuesday, another asylum seeker contacted us on the same day. The asylum seeker was in police custody in the city of Vaasa. Contrary to the Iraqi asylum seeker, the Cameroonian was married to a Finn who is was expecting a child. 

His Finnish wife wrote a letter in case the authorities went through with her husband’s deportation.

“What am I thinking? I can’t think straight. I feel empty inside…They detained my beloved husband on the same day we heard about his rejection for asylum…What will I tell my unborn child the day he will ask where his father is and why he is not by our side?”

Matters looked bleak on Friday for the Cameroonian asylum seeker, who was transferred from Vaasa to the Metsälä immigration removal center in Helsinki. At 2 pm, however, he got a call from his wife who told him the good news: “The lawyer called and said your deportation was canceled.”

While the asylum seeker was relieved by the news, he was released at 5:11 pm. He wasn’t offered any compensation from the police to travel back to Vaasa from Helsinki.

The asylum seeker does not understand why he had to endure this ordeal and detention.

“Even if I feel relieved,” the asylum seeker said. “This has been a horrible experience.”

The asylum seeker applied for a residence permit after he got married in 2016, but it was turned down.

“It’s clear that they [Migri] doesn’t want me here,” he added.

Despite all that happened, an unanswered question remains: How can Migri deport an asylum seeker who is married to a Finn that is expecting a child?

A lawyer who works with asylum seekers told Migrant Tales that the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) deports even married people because they believe it would be in the best interest of the child.

“Migri is especially suspicious of Africans and non-Europeans who get married to Finns,” said another activist who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Email from the Cameroonian who got sent to the immigration removal center of Metsälä in Helsinki.

The Cameroonian’s detention cell in Vaasa.

How many similar cases are there in Finland of asylum seekers married to Finns that face deportation?

We can only wonder.