Prime Minister Juha Sipilä fuels Finland’s hostile environment for migrants

by , under Enrique Tessieri

While I was not surprised by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s comments about migration and the rise of the far right in YLE’s Ykkösaamu talk show, the interview offers a good example of how his government continues to fuel Finland’s hostile environment for migrants. 

According to Adrian Berry, a leading UK immigration lawyer, defined in in The Guardian, the term hostile environment: “It is a series of legislative initiatives to make it much more difficult to lead an ordinary life in the UK, but secondly, a change in direction in the way the Home Office assesses individual people.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is considered the brainchild of the UK’s hostile environment. 

This definition by Berry offers us the opportunity to assess the hostile environment for migrants in Finland.  In the same manner, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s government has tightened immigration laws which in turn has changed radically the way Finland assesses people from certain countries, especially Muslims from Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Anti-immigration rhetoric and mistrust have made the lives of migrants and minorities more difficult because they encourage social ills like racism and discrimination. 

Sipilä’s comments in YLE’s Ykkössmu talk show how much in the dark the prime minister- Blaming the riots in Chemnitz on “uncontrolled immigration” is sticking one’s head in the sand. 

The reason why Sipilä invested few words in the show on the threat of the far right in Europe is either because he is in denial or ignorant of the problem in a European historical context. Remember the slippery slope that led to Nazi Germany’s final solution?

A recent editorial in The Guardian wrote the following about the demonstrations in Chemnitz: “It is disturbing to see a far-right mob rampage through the streets of any city but, for obvious historical reasons, the scene is uniquely distressing in Germany.” 

OK, you don’t believe in the liberal media. Let’s look at what Spiegel Online of Germany wrote: “In Chemnitz, refugees find themselves under threat by neo-Nazis and hooligans. Politicians have pledged to take a hard line against right-wing extremist violence, but they look helpless nonetheless. Meanwhile, the right wing seems to have the upper hand in Saxony.”

Veikka Lahtinen tweets: “When the prime minister explains that “uncontrolled immigration” is the cause for the racist demonstrations in Germany,  you can guess that [parliamentary and EU elections] are less than a year off, and that in Finland the only center-right response to the extreme right is to use the same language.” 

What does the conservative Financial Times write? 

“Chemnitz, Saxony’s third-biggest city, has become a symbol of the relentless rise of the hard right in Germany. At a series of demonstrations this week, young men in black hoodies changed ‘Germany for the Germans’ and ‘Foreigners Out.’ A country that thought it had long ago laid Nazism to rest was confronted with its ugly rebirth.”

Prime Minister Sipilä’s interview revealed how much of a bubble – like the EU – the prime minister inhabits. Sipilä actually believes that by raising the number of quota refugees from 750 to 1,500 will help alleviate the so-called immigration crisis.

What Sipilä conveniently forgot to offer are the solutions to stop people from migrating to Europe from regions like Africa. Without even offering a shred of evidence, he suggested too many of them were economic migrants. 

As a Latin American, and after so much meddling in our politics and economy by Washington, my family decided to migrate to the United States because there wasn’t a bright enough future in Argentina.

If you have not solved the “migration problem” up to now, it is only a pipedream to believe it will be solved in the near future. Matters will only get worse. 

Prime Minister Sipilä’s comments reinforce how much in the dar he and his government is on immigration and a slew of other issues.