Most of those proposed for deportation by the police were Estonian, Russian and Iraqi nationals.
An upsurge in the number of decisions on deportation was seen following the 2009 Sello shopping mall shootings. In that incident in late December 2009, Ibrahim Shkupolli, a 43-year-old Kosovo Albanian, shot dead four people in the mall after killing a former girlfriend in her apartment, and later himself.
During the nine months immediately following the Sello shootings, authorities called for the expulsion of nearly three times the number foreigners as during the two previous years. Since then, the annual number has remained high.
Last year, proposals for deportation put forward by police and immigration authorities topped 400. Most of those proposed for deportation by the police were Estonian, Russian and Iraqi nationals.
Crimes buy ticket home
The basis for deportation is either criminal activity by a foreign national or illegal residence in the country. The Immigration Service says that the increase registered in recent years is due to a more active push by police.
“The police have given ever greater attention to preventing illegal immigration and the processing of foreigners who commit crime, so we have tried to achieve uniformity in police department practices and increased training concerning aliens’ affairs,” explains Chief Inspector Mia Poutanen of the National Police Board.
However, Ville Punto, a lawyer specialized in immigrant affairs, believes that the growth in the number of deportation decisions reflects a tougher stand taken by the Immigration Service.
“Indeed, the stand has become clearly tougher [and it is] more easy to deport. The Immigration Service has taken steps of its own to exercise influence. When in some cases the Administrative Court has struck down a deportation order, the Immigration Service has got its way by appealing to a higher court,” says Punto.
The Service’s director in charge of immigration affairs, Tiina Suominen, denies that there has been a change in approach.
“No. Policies have not been tightened,” Suominen told Yle.