Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Michael Halila

Responding here to Michael's comment to my previous post:

"We're not "admitting everyone". Finland admits less than 1,000 refugees a year, including in 2008 when the number of applications mushroomed."

In 2008 Finland has admitted 702 quota refugees, 89 asylum seekers who got a refugee status, 484 people on international protection status, 149 people for humanitarian reasons, and 38 asylum seekers on temporary residence permits, which will no doubt become continuous in 2 years. In addition to that 563 Somalis were admitted as family members. Of these at least 450 must have been family members of another refugee and therefore entitled to the same benefits. That's 1874 persons right here, and this number does not include the people with temporary residence permits and the family members of refugees other than Somalis.

It may not seem like a lot, but it's a lot for a country Finland's size. My "admitting everyone" in any case referred to a potential future situation where the number of applicants has risen sharply. Which is not all that potential anymore, now that their number has in fact risen sharply.

As for including the 2008 when the number of admissions mushroomed: we haven't seen it yet. The average time in which a normal (not Dublin, etc.) application is reviewed was 176 days in 2008 and 204 days in January 2009. The latests decision statistics are for January, and the mushrooming started in May last year. Just for comparison: in January 498 applications were filed, but only 178 decisions of any kind were made.

"And the idea of deporting everyone who is found guilty of a single crime is, to me, simply monstrous."

I did not say "for a single crime", but "for a single serious violent crime". I was not suggesting that we deport people for shoplifting, chewing khat or even having a minor fight or cheating sossu out of a bit of money. Shit happens. When shit start happening to the extent of aggravated robbery with assault and battery, it's time to shovel it out. To me it's monstrous to let them stay.

"The Finnish constitution says people (not citizens, people) are equal before the law. You want to change that to make "foreigners" less equal? I don't like the sound of that."

Let's see:

"Ketään ei saa ilman hyväksyttävää perustetta asettaa eri asemaan sukupuolen, iän, alkuperän, kielen, uskonnon, vakaumuksen, mielipiteen, terveydentilan, vammaisuuden tai muun henkilöön liittyvän syyn perusteella." (No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.)

Weird, I don't see "citizenship" there. I do see "acceptable reason" instead.

Foreigners are less equal. They can't vote, and they usually need residence permits to stay in Finland. Foreigners can be deported for a single crime, and sometimes are. A person who has come here to work is denied a residence permit renewal if he or she loses the job just before the renewal and doesn't immediately find a new one. People who come here to work don't get the same social security as Finns until they get a permanent residence permit, and if their contract is short enough, they don't get any social security at all. I am not even talking about the status of students.

Refugees, on the other hand, are holy cows who are sometimes impossible to deport even after a series of convictions for aggravated assaults, batteries and robberies.

"Finland is admitting less than one thousand asylum seekers per year, and this number is not going to change dramatically despite the fearmongering going on."

Would you like to define "dramatically", and the timescale?

"But the idea that "something's gotta give" is just exaggerating the nature of the problem so much that it's hard to understand where you're coming from. I don't understand this Finnish "refugee hysteria" at all."

That's simple. First of all, people have noticed that the refugees are very much overrepresented in violent crime statistics and underrepresented in the employment statistics. Second, we have the unfortunate example of other European countries in front of our eyes. And third, the number of applicants is up.

I really wouldn't worry about refugees if they found jobs fast and committed crimes with approximately the same frequency as Finns. This is, unfortunately, not the case.

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