If you want to look for some of the mentors of the Social Democratic Party’s anti-immigration wing providing sound-bite goodies to the media, MP Kari Rajamäki is one of them. Contrary to MP Eero Heinäluoma and SDP chairperson, Jutta Urpilainen, Rajamäki has a long track record of seeing immigration as a threat.
Rajamäki was interior minister in 2003-07.
Even though one would think that a left-wing party like the SDP should have a more favorable view of downtrodden classes like immigrants, in Finland it does not work that way. Setting aside a few nuances, the anti-immigrant wing of the SDP is very similar to the ultra-nationalist True Finns’ immigration policy.
In a letter to the editor in Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest daily, Rajamäki upholds and continues to spread the myth that we are being “invaded” by hordes of illegal workers/refugees and therefore we must suspect every foreigner that enters the country. In the letter to Helsingin Sanomat, he incites fear and anti-immigrant rhetoric by stating foreign workers are a problem because they work illegally and do not pay taxes.
It would be great that the SDP, instead of vilifying foreign workers, would actually give us some concrete cases of the “worrying” trend of illegal immigrants in the country. One of the saddest aspects of the SDP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric is that it helps maintain the present abuse and discrimination in the Finnish labor market.
Local government minister, Mari Kiviniemi of the Center Party, was spot on in her May Day speech when she said that Heinäluoma and company want to capitalize politically on people’s stereotypes of foreigners.
Certainly we should find and expose companies that break the law instead of labelling every foreigner in this country as a potential tax evader. (See Are You a Target of Racism question number 5).
Have we seen any concrete visible cases of wrongdoing of illegal workers and tax evaders? No. Why? Because it is a probably nothing more than a ploy by the SDP to bash immigrants and keep public opinion hostile to foreigners as the 2011 parliamentary elections near.