At the end of December, an Iraqi family received news from the police that they’d be deported to Iraq in about two weeks. After many rejections for asylum by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) after living in Finland for eight years, it was the first time they had been hit with a deportation order.
Their case hangs in the balance. If the supreme court does not overturn the deportation ruling, it will radically change the lives of Amir’s family. Their three children, who came at a young age to Finland, will be sent to Iraq with their parents.
One of the architects of Finland’s tough migration policy is Interior Minister Mari Rantanen with the blessings of the National Coalition Party, Swedish People’s Party and Christian Democrats. Source: Twitter.
Two of their adult children, who work in Finland, can remain. This adds up to a terrible separation of the family.
Amir admits that he has no idea what kind of country he’d return to in Iraq if he were deported.
“The waiting and uncertainty [now] are terrible, and we cannot sleep well,” he continued. “The police can come at any moment [to our home]. We have our luggage packed ready if they came to take us to the airport.”
Fortunately, on the day of Amir family’s deportation, Finland’s supreme court decided to review their case.
“The deportation was stopped at the last minute,” he said,* who claimed that he was the first family to be deported to Iraq from Finland under the new government’s tightened immigration policy.
“What can we do except cooperate with the authorities,” he said. “I don’t want to go to jail with my family.”
One of Amir’s children was seven when he came to Finland.
“My son tells me that he does not want to return to Iraq because all of his friends are in Finland,” said Amir. “Since he came young, he cannot read and write in Arabic.”
To begin to understand Amir’s predicament and how living with the extreme stress of uncertainty, we’d have to look at the Ulysses Syndrome, which Psychiatrist Joseba Achotegui of the Universitat de Barcelona categorizes it as a survival struggle that takes over all other priorities. The syndrome is characterized by physical symptoms like headaches, and psychological symptoms like depression.
Even if Amir’s family has received over ten rejections for asylum by Migri, in my opinion, they should be given an award for their legal survival tactics.
Amir admitted that he’d never recommend Finland as a country to go to a fellow asylum seeker and asked where are the human rights of the children and the women.
“We escaped a country [with little human rights] to come to a country that is supposed to respect human rights but wants us now to send us back to what we escaped,” he continued.
The first time that Ami came to seek asylum was after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2007.
One of the main reasons why Amir’s family moved to Finland was because one of his sons was held by the militia for three days. “After that incident, we decided to leave Iraq,” he said.
Asked why Migri has not accepted his story, Amir admits that Migri has said that he believes in his story but tell him he “must return to Iraq.”
Amir admits that going to Germany would have offered his family a different future.
“At least in Germany, we would have got a work permit,” he said. “In Finland, it has not been possible. [for the four of us].”
Amir admits that the government policy to pushback people trying to come to Finand is not an intelligent policy.
“Finland needs labor,” he said. “They should be helping people like my family, who speak the language and have adapted to this country to stay here.”
Taking into account the extreme suffering and survival techniques of Amir, he still hangs on to hope.
“[If I get a residence permit] I will establish my own restaurant,” he said. “I ant my children to work. We don’t want to live off welfare.”