The Finnish government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä has done everything possible to make asylum seekers feel unwelcome in Finland. On Friday, they tightened family reunification guidelines and recently did away with giving residence permits on humanitarian grounds.
The new family reunification law makes it virtually impossible for an asylum seeker who gets a residence permit to bring his or her family from abroad.
Asylum seekers and Finns will demonstrate against an assessment by the government that countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are safe to return asylum seekers.
“We hope the government will change the decision [on Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia],” said an Iraqi asylum seeker who plans to attend Monday’s demonstration. “We didn’t come to Finland to live off your social welfare.”
What is grotesque about the new law is that the Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, with the support of their government partners, the Center Party and National Coalition Party (NCP), want to reassure their voters that they are as xenophobic as before even if their support in the polls has plummeted.
The Center Party and NCP have struck a deal with the PS: You have carte blanche to spread anti-immigration rhetoric and we’ll support the tightening of immigration policy as long as you support our massive budget cuts, which will hit pensioners, low-income and middle-class families.
After Sipilä’s government laid thorns on the path of asylum seekers in Finland, there is one matter that they can’t do anything about: Extinguish their hope.
That’s why tomorrow’s demonstration at 4:00pm in Helsinki (Kamppi) is one of the last chances that asylum seekers and concerned Finns have to show that they won’t be bullied by one of the country’s most anti-immigration governments seen in a long time.
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Migrant Tales hopes that MPs and ministers that voted Friday in favor of tightening family reunification guidelines will be present. Some whose presence would be appreciated are: Center Party Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, PS Foreign Minister Timo Soini, PS Justice Minister Jari Lindström, PS Social Welfare Minister Hanna Mäntylä, NCP Interior Minister Petteri Orpo, NCP Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka, Center Party Transportation and Communication Minster Anne Berner, NCP Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, and 84 other MPs.
* 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.”