The Right to Live citizen’s initiative has over 50,000 signatures – parliament has a moral obligation to grant residence permits to undocumented migrants

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The Right to Live (Lupa elää) citizen’s initiative passed through the 50,000 signatures barrier Friday. If passed by parliament, the initiative will grant four-year residence permits to undocumented migrants who came to Finland before January 1, 2017.

The ministry of interior published its recommendations on what to do with some 3,000 undocumented migrants who came to Finland in 2015-2016. Of this group, about 300 are children.

States the Right to Live: “An unprecedented number of asylum seekers arrived in Finland during the years 2015 and 2016. Many went through asylum processes that were hurried and of poor quality. More than 5 years later, some of them are in a legal limbo and are still waiting for a residence permit, while some are waiting for the first non-appealable decision to their asylum applications.”

The proposal, made by the Green League, to grant a residence permit to undocumented migrants has received opposition from government parties like the Social Democrats (SDP) and Center Party.

Migrant Tales has published several stories about the lives of undocumented migrants in Finland. Here is Amir’s story.

Some of the most vocal government objectors to the proposal are SDP MP Eveliina Heinäluoma and Mikko Kärnä of the Center Party, both parliament’s administrative committee members.

Be ready to hear a lot of empty whining by some politicians on why we should continue to let thousands of undocumented migrants and their children live on the fringes of society without any rights.

In an editorial in February, Helsingin Sanomat asked an important question: “Those who state that the [ministry of interior’s] recommendations [to grant residence permits] aren’t valid should now present their solutions.”

Before the passage of law 2/2016 during Prime Minister Juho Sipilä’s government (2015-2019), Finland granted temporary residence permits to asylum seekers from countries with a history of human rights violations.

Some MPs who voted in favor of the law were Nasima Razmyar, the deputy mayor of Helsinki. Apart from the Center Party, National Coalition Party (Kokoomus), and Perussuomalaiset (PS)*, opposition parties like the Christian Democrats and most of the Social Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Let’s raise our voices and lobby to grant asylum seekers who came in 2015-2016 residence permits.

Finland has a moral debt to these undocumented migrants.