Friday, March 13, 2009

To Michael Halila, part two

Michael's answer to part 1 is here.

"First of all, I mistakenly assumed the number the Finnish immigration office gives on their page for admitted refugees is, in fact, the total number of refugees admitted to Finland. Apparently it isn't, so my bad."

Yes, they are a bit difficult to interpret. They keep separate statistics for quota refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants. Of the asylum seekers who are allowed to stay, some get the refugee status, some "international protection", some "humanitarian reasons" and some "family". The "humanitarian reasons" are also in the regular immigrant statistics under "other reasons".

"As you can see, 2007 was a record low in applications in the 2000's, while the 4035 applications of last year are only 200 more than in 2004. Looking at the numbers, there is so far no clear rising trend. So your potential future situation is a possible future situation."

This is a good point, and 2007 indeed was a record low, but now we are over the record high. It could be just a peak year after which the applications will go down, but the Director-General of the Finnish Immigration Service thinks otherwise.

"Also, how is slightly less than 2000 refugee admissions in a year "a lot for a country like Finland"? That's, what, 0.0004 percent of our population of five million?"


"Each year there are some 60 000 Finnish people born; admitting 2 000 refugees in addition to them doesn't exactly unbalance our population structure dramatically."

It makes them about 3.3% of the new population growth, not counting their children who are born here. With time, it makes for a sizeable minority. Which, again, would not be a problem, except that its two biggest groups, Iraqis and Somalis, are grossy overrepresented in violent crime and unemployment statistics.

"To me it's totally monstrous to suggest that if a person makes one mistake, they're deported from Finland forever."

Depends on the size of the mistake, but how many mistakes of what size do you think would be enough?

"It's the height of naïvete to assume, like you do, that a population can be divided into criminals and non-criminals, and we should expel all the criminals. "

A population can be divided into criminals and non-criminals, that's what criminal law and courts are for, and of course the division is not perfect. And I have said twice, quite explicitly, that I don't want to expel all the criminals, or even all the foreign criminals.

"If a policy like that had a positive effect on crime rates, there would be no crime in Britain because they expelled everyone who committe a "single serious violent crime" to Australia."

I think they have stopped that a while ago. 1868, AFAIK. New generations of criminals have been born since - and imported, too.

Where do you get "there is still crime"="a particular policy has no positive effect"? There is still crime everywhere - do you think no anti-crime policy has any positive effect?

"However, I feel the constitutional issue is more important, and you're actually quoting the wrong part of the Constitution:

6 §

Ihmiset ovat yhdenvertaisia lain edessä."

I am actually quoting from the same paragraph as you, right after what you quoted.

"And yes, it doesn't say "citizens". Human rights in general apply to humans, not just humans who are citizens of your particular polity. There are very good reasons for this."

There certainly are, but staying in a country that you are not a citizen of is not a human right as such.

"This is a disingenuous argument, for a simple reason. The juridical difference between a refugee and a foreign national is very simple. Most foreign nationals can be deported to their country of citizenship, but refugees are considered to be fleeing from persecution by that country, which is why deporting them is an entirely different matter from deporting, say, a British national."

So British nationals are less equal after all? :)

"Equality before the law doesn't mean everyone who lives in the country has to be allowed to vote or to be paid Social Security, it means they have to be treated the same before a court. "

Including a court deciding on immigration or voting or social security issues?

"And if a Finnish citizen is sentenced to four months for robbery, but a Somali refugee is sentenced to four months plus deportation to a war zone for the same robbery, then they're rather obviously not being treated equally before the law."

If you choose to define equality before the law as equality before criminal law, I find it a bit strange, but in this case we have no problem. Deportation is a proceeding defined in immigration law.

" He uses rape as his example, but the same basic logic applies to all violent crime statistics. When we adjust for overrepresentation in the age groups that commit the most crime, the per capita violent crime committed by refugees is not markedly larger than that of the general population."

Let's see. In 2007 Somalis and Iraqis, put together, constituted 0.14% of Finnish population. ((4852+3036)*100/5300484). Among the men aged 15 to 29 Somalis and Iraqis constituted 0.316%. This means that among 15-29-year-old men they were overrepresented by a factor of 2.1.

Among the suspects in cases of various forms of manslaughter, various forms of rape, aggravated battery and robbery Iraqis and Somalis were overrepresented by a factor of 14.8 and 20, respectively. The previous year they were overrepresented by a factor of 20.7 and 14.

I would count that as "markedly large".

All those numbers are available on Tilastokeskus page. Here are my calculations for crime rates, you can recheck them just to be sure.

As for the socioeconomic factors - you are right, they do affect it. What difference does it make, though? Crime is still crime, we obviously don't know how to fix the socioeconomic factors, either, and "let's import some more unemployed and unemployable young men" does not sound like a good idea.

"But despite what Halla-aho and his like are peddling, Finland is a long way from having ethnic ghettos like those of Paris."

We certainly are, and it would be nice to remain that way.

"What we need to learn from the situation in other European countries is how to stop it from happening here. In my opinion this means a stronger policy of integrating refugees and other immigrants into society, not demonizing them as criminals and trying to erect barriers of entry to stop them from coming here."

How about learning and instituting the relevant policies first, and taking more refugees later?

"In short, the reason refugees aren't finding jobs fast enough is, in my opinion, social democracy, not the refugees themselves. And as for violent crime, as I said, taking all factors into account refugees commit violent crime at approximately the same frequency as the Finnish population."

About the violent crime you are wrong. About the social security policy you are most likely right, and as soon as the social security policy changes we can try admitting more refugees than now.

I am quite a fan of the American refugee policies, too, and have written about it a few times before. They did manage to integrate their refugees, and there is no massive unemployment among the refugee population. Or, as far as I know, a massive crime rate (it is less documented than unemployment). The Office of Refugee resettlement report to the Congress is most educational (the latest one is here).

First or all, they do have a quota, which for 2006 was 70000. (The actual arrivals were 57979.) The quota is divided by regions. The largest group was from Cuba (19787). There were 10453 from Somalia.

Second, they do deport refugees or crimes, at least to the extent that this is physically possible. Even for the crimes that I would consider too minor for a deportation.

Third, their social security really doesn't last forever. Most refugees are expected to be self-supporting 4 months after arrival, and most are. If they aren't, they have some more time on state assistance, and after that they run out of money, unless they are elderly or handicapped.

I promise, as soon as Finland changes its policies in such a way that half of working-age refugees are self-supporting after 4 months of being here, I'll say "hurrah, let's get more refugees!" right here in this blog. In fact, if you can find any statistics of any refugee group doing so now, I can say "hurrah, let's get more of those!" now.

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