The state news broadcaster YLE (disseminator of state memes and agendas) tries to dispel the public’s justifiable fears surrounding the opening of asylum reception centers that have come to the forefront of the news in the recent months here in Finland. I include the YLE article: True or False? Yle tackles Finland’s top ten complaints about asylum seekers, with Vasara Hammer’s salient point by point response to it.
True or False? Yle tackles Finland’s top ten complaints about asylum seekers
The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle made a list of common perceptions associated with Finland’s refugees and compared them with the evidence to see if they were true or false. For example, many Finns oppose the establishment of a reception centre for asylum seekers in their neighbourhood, saying it would increase crime, yet statistics show no evidence to back this claim.
1. Reception centres increase crime
False. Helsinki Police say the city’s two 200-bed facilities in the districts of Kallio and Punavuori have not caused any kind of increase in crime in those areas, and residents have not reported any deterioration in the area’s general safety. Minna Jussila, Director of the Finnish Red Cross reception centres in the Häme region says that in the six and a half years she has worked there, there have been no incidents of aggravated violence or rape. The Häme region has two reception centres, a 300-bed facility in Mänttä-Vilppula and a 250-bed centre in Lammi. Her equivalent in the Satakunta region, Kari Petäjä, says reception centres have not caused crime to peak at any location in Finland. Police also confirm that residents of the most recently-opened reception centres have not caused any problems.
[VH: Attempt to mislead. It is not the refugee centres per se that increase crime. However, certain immigrant groups are more likely to commit violent crime than others according to the statistics.]
2. Asylum seekers receive more financial support than Finns
False (in most cases). Asylum seekers are entitled to a living allowance, intended to cover all of their living expenses, including food and clothing. The allowance is based on the basic supplementary social allowance granted to Finnish residents, although its amount is reduced by 30 percent for an adult and 15 percent for a child on account of the accommodation and other services provided in the reception centre. Asylum seekers are not entitled to a child benefit or any other social benefits.
The amount of financial support granted to asylum seekers is therefore smaller than the social allowance and many other benefits granted to Finnish residents. Asylum seekers who live alone or are single parents receive just over 316 euros a month, while those who live in a reception centre that offers food services receive just short of 100 euros monthly. Other adults are entitled to 267 euros per month, but if they live in a reception centre, this amount drops to 76 euros. Any income or expenses the asylum seeker may have naturally affect this sum.
In comparison, the basic monthly amount of social allowance paid to down-on-their-luck Finnish residents is over 485 euros for persons who live alone. Study aid for adult university students is currently either 303 or 337 euros monthly, depending on when they started their studies. The only aid recipient who comes out worse than an asylum seeker in terms of their monthly allowance is an advanced study university student, who receives just 250 euros or so each month in study aid, but is also eligible for a low-interest student loan.
[VH: Strawman. The fact that asylum seekers receive benefits of roughly 300 euros per month is in itself a drawing factor. The amount is bigger than salary in some of the countries in Western Balkan. Less generous benefits would attract less false asylum seekers (eg. Albanians).]
3. Reception centres are an expense for the city
False. The Finnish State pays all of the costs of the country’s reception centres. Municipalities also receive compensation for arranging school services for asylum-seeking minors. Reception centres create jobs and increase the demand for local goods and services.
[VH: Attempt to mislead. The costs of asylum centers are fully paid by the Finnish taxpayer. Yle is basically repeating the sales pitch used by the human rights industry. It is true that costs are paid from state taxes and not from municipal taxes. Here the state is basically bribing the municipalities to accept refugees. The state budget deficit is currently billions of euros. Finnish taxpayer can’t afford to pay for the costs caused by asylum seekers.]
4. Finland is crawling with illegal asylum seekers
False. There is no such thing as an asylum seeker who is in the country illegally, because persons seeking asylum are considered to be in the country legally even if they possess no travel documents and later receive a negative decision. The number of asylum seekers has grown quickly, on the other hand, and more and more applications are found to be groundless (see #5).
[VH: Attempt to mislead. Before their departure the asylum seekers have resided in a safe country like Jordan, Lebanon or Turkey. While traveling to Finland they have crossed several borders and traveled through safe countries. They have entered the Schengen area illegally and they should have applied for asylum in the first Schengen country they set their foot on. Because of generous benefits they choose Finland over Hungary or Slovakia.]
5. People granted asylum here are only interested in improving their standard of living
False. Poverty is not a valid criterion for receiving asylum, and officials strive to process applications that are seen to be unfounded quickly. Finland’s Refugee Advice Centre says the clear majority of asylum seekers entering Finland are from poor countries because armed conflicts and human rights offences are more likely to take place in such places.
While it is true that there have been cases of, for example, Albanians seeking asylum in Finland because of the poor economic situation in their homeland, The Finnish Immigration Service says cases like these are denied at the first opportunity, sometimes within the span of one day. After this, the person receiving the negative decision is directed back to their place of origin by the police.
Interior Minister Petteri Orpo has announced that Finland will make its application process more efficient in future, to recognize groundless applications more quickly and return people who have received negative decisions to their homeland faster.
[VH: The fact that the asylum seekers choose Finland over Hungary, Slovakia or Serbia shows that they are looking to take advantage of the generous benefits system.]
6. Most of the people applying for asylum in Finland are young men
True. As of mid-August 2015, 78 percent of asylum applicants in Finland have been male and 22 percent female. Some of the disparity can be explained by the large amount of Iraqi nationals, which now make up the largest asylum-seeking group. Among the Iraqis, 88 percent are men and 12 percent are women. The gender difference can also be explained by the fact that young people are often better placed to cope with the arduous journey to seek asylum and, in some countries, young men are more targeted by persecution and forced military recruitment.
Factors like gender and health have no effect on the decision to grant asylum, however. The applicant’s fear of persecution upon return to their country and the general security situation in their homeland are the deciding factors.
[VH: It’s nice to see that Yle acknowledges this fact, even though they immediately invent excuses for the asylum seekers. The journey from Turkey to the island of Kos is not an arduous journey but a 5 kilometre boat ride.]
7. Those young men should be back home fighting for their country
The Refugee Advice Centre points out that wars that create refugees in the modern world are complex internal conflicts in which violence often targets the country’s civilians. The reasons people leave their country could be due to persecution they receive for their political opinions, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or even an environmental disaster.
[VH: Here Yle is again inventing excuses on behalf of the asylum seekers and failing to acknowledge that it is the generous benefits system that draws the asylum seekers here.]
8. Many asylum seekers claim they are children when they are really adults
False. The number of children arriving in Finland alone and seeking asylum is very small. One-quarter of these have reported a false age. For example, of the 3,238 asylum seekers recorded to have entered Finland in 2013, 156 said they were minors and only 42 were found to be of adult age. In 2012, of the 167 in the 3,129 total who said they were minors, 37 were disproven. 305 minors have applied for asylum so far this year in Finland and the results of their age tests are not available.
[VH: This is happening in Sweden. If it is beneficial to lie about your age, some asylum seekers do just that.]
9. Asylum seekers are basically on holiday until their decision arrives
False. Asylum seekers in Finland are obliged to participate in study or work activities during their wait for a decision. If they neglect their obligations, their allowance is docked accordingly. For example, occupants of the Häme region reception centres who have chosen to pursue studies take Finnish language and culture classes three days a week. If they are absent without reason or ten minutes tardy more than three times, their allowance is cut.
Asylum seekers can also work normally after three months if they have the required travel documents, or in the absence of such documents, after six months have expired since their arrival. They pay taxes on their income normally and their income is taken into account in the amount of monthly support they receive.
[VH: Attempt to mislead. The asylum seekers lack some of the basic skills required to make a living in Finnish society. You cannot make a functional illiterate into a productive member of a society during the time the asylum seekers spend in the refugee centre. The fact that hard-working Estonians and Russians were driven out from Kirkkonummi asylum centre to make room for people who have nothing better to do than play with their smartphones and tablets tells the full story. There is no demand in the job market for the asylum seekers.]
10. Asylum applicants aren’t required to learn the language or familiarise themselves with Finnish culture
True for some, false for others. See #9.
Yle consulted the Finnish Immigration Service, the Finnish Red Cross, the national social services administrator Kela, the National Police Board, the Refugee Advice Centre and Yle archives for this report. Yle
[VH: If you seriously believe that young muslim males from Iraq, Somalia or Afghanistan will ever familiarize themselves with Finnish culture, you are living in a dreamworld. They bring their own culture here with all the associated pathologies especially if they arrive in large numbers. It is more likely that they will end up forming ethnic or religious enclaves that are separated from the rest of Finnish society.]
All in all, Yle focuses on the immediate impact of the refugee centres and not the long term effects of this type of immigration.