Saturday, June 07, 2008

All independent paralyzed elderly, unite!

The Finnish Immigration Service has decided to deport Maria Kirbasova, a half-paralyzed senior citizen who was one of the founding members of Soldiers' Mothers organization in Russia, and who was hoping to get to stay with her daughter.

Because, you know, a mother is not a family member. Not to mention that a half-paralyzed senior citizen dissident in Russia is in less danger than a young robber in Somalia.

I understand all the people making fun of the officials who say that in other cultures people have a different concept of what a family member is, and the concern about third-world people bringing all their extended family here, but IME Finnish people usually do consider their parents and children to be family. Even when said children turn 18.

(As an aside, the third-world people will bring their extended families anyway, mostly by using various refugee and quasi-refugee statuses. I should know - you wouldn't believe all the variety of distant relatives we managed to bring in the US. Completely legally, mind you. Not that I am complaining - we have been very grateful for the opportunity, and the people we brought have all become law-abiding citizens, and mostly highly tax-paying ones, too - but I could never understand why we got to bring even the kind of relatives none of us had ever seen before, such as my father's cousin's new husband, whereas the citizens have to wait years to bring their parents, children or siblings.)

But I digress. The law, and the Immigration Service's webpage say that Finnish and non-EU citizens get to bring their non-family relatives if those are totally dependent on them. If an elderly person who has rheumatism, is half-paralized, lives in a country where services for such elderly are not available and has no other children there does not qualify, then who does? Does one have to be dead or something?

Yes, I share the skepticism of some commenters about the daughter's ability to support the mother if her condition gets worse, but that's not the point here. You can't simultaneously make a law saying that only the sick and dependent old people get to come here, and simultaneously complain about their being, uhm, sick and dependent and old. Not unless you want to look really stupid, anyway. Not that this consideration has bothered our lawmakers, officials and courts much lately.

A really interesting detail that Hesari doesn't mention is that these are the rules for Finnish citizens and most non-EU citizens. The rules for the EU-citizens (excluding Finland), and citizens of Switzerland and Liechtenstein are different. They get to bring children up to the age of 21, as opposed to 18, and parents that they are taking care of (don't have to be totally dependent), and also their mother- and father-in-law.

Where is the sense in this? Some EU-regulation, sure, but couldn't they write the law so that Finland's own citizens wouldn't be treated any worse than EU citizens? Kirbasova's daughter, if she is a Finnish citizen, can probably freely move to Sweden, and bring her mother there. And if Swedish laws are just as perverse, their citizens who need to bring their parents can move here and bring them here. Yes, this would increase the mobility within the EU, but is there any common or even uncommon sense in this?

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