Finland tightens family reunification laws and denies migrants the right to a family

by , under Beri Jamal and Enrique Tessieri

The Finnish parliament didn’t vote Friday to tighten even further family reunification guidelines but effectively socially excluded and relegated migrants, especially asylum seekers, to second- and third-class citizens. The news ironically coincides with the death of former Rural Party MP Sulo Aittoniemi (1936-2016), an advocate against refugees and cultural diversity. 

Article 16 of the Human Rights Charter guarantees protection to families:

Article 16.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

And then there’s Section 6 of the Finnish Constitution that states: Everyone is equal before the law.

Are migrants, specifically asylum seekers that get a residence permit, equal before the law?

Certainly not since they don’t have a right to live with their families in Finland.

Is it a coincidence that Aittoniemi, who served as MP between 1987 and 2003, passed away on this dark day for migrants with families? 

Aittoniemi’s views and scorn for refugees, cultural diversity, and gays were well known.

In one comment in 1989 he vowed that “we won’t allow refugees to walk over us!” according to YLE

Social Democrat MEP Liisa Jakkosaari  once called Aittoniemi “a demagogue and charlatan” after he claimed that refugees that come to Finland only do so for economic reasons.  

Taking into account Aittoniemi’s views of migrants, it is surprising the Helsingin Sanomat does mention the former MP’s issues with gays but not a word about his racist views and stands.

If parliament showed in one vote how it loathes migrants and their human rights, the Helsingin Sanomat article showed how much the media denies a social illness like racism.

When some asylum seekers ask me why a country like Finland, which they thought respects human rights, tightens its family reunification law, my answer to them is simple and straightforward: We have one of the most anti-immigration governments in a long time. They tightened family reunification guidelines because they don’t want you in this country.

The new family reunification law means in effect that it will be virtually impossible for asylum seekers to bring their families here if they get a residence permit.

After an asylum seeker has his residence permit, he or she has three months to apply for family reunification. In order to be eligible, the person has to make 2,600 euros/month after taxes in order to bring his spouse and two children.

According to Pekka Myrskylä, a Statistics Finland researcher, only 20% of Finns make that amount of money today.

“What’s the point of getting a residence permit when they make it impossible for you to bring your family to this country?” said a disappointed Iraqi asylum seeker.

Näyttökuva 2016-6-18 kello 0.47.59
Read full story here.

The suspicion and contempt that the government has for asylum seekers, which is clearly spearheaded by the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party and supported by its government coalition partners, the Center Party and National Coalition Party, doesn’t stop here. 

Recently the government shocked thousands of Iraqi, Afghan and Somali asylum seekers when a new assessment alleged that these countries are safe to return refugees.

Certainly they’d return these asylum seekers back to their countries but they never recommend Finnish nationals from traveling there since they’re too dangerous.

The IntelCenter’s Country Threat Index (CTI)  ranked Iraq as the most dangerous country in the world. That was followed by Afghanistan (3rd) and Somalia (5th).

The Iraqi community of Finland is trying to get a petition signed by as many Finns as possible stating that they agree that Iraq isn’t a safe country.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”