‘Because Migri Says So’:

Open access

Abstract

This article argues that authorisation and moral evaluation are the dominant legitimation strategies used in asylum decisions by the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri). After the migration events of 2015, the percentage of accepted asylum claims dropped dramatically in Finland, causing concern about the legal rights of asylum seekers. Drawing on theoretical literature concerning asylum decisions, borders and language, this article is based on a systematic analysis of 77 asylum decisions. It aims to answer the following questions: What strategies of legitimation does Migri use to support their negative asylum decisions? How are these strategies used? The study reports that the reasons behind negative asylum decisions are often not openly provided. Instead, the decisions largely rely on authorisation and implicit moral evaluation; the decision is so ‘because Migri says so’. This lack of transparency has adverse consequences for the due process of asylum seekers, and these consequences can be life-changing.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Administrative Procedures Act of Finland 2003. Available from: <www.finlex.fi>. [Last accessed 1.12.2017].

  • Aliens Act of Finland 2004. Available from: <www.finlex.fi>. [Last accessed 1.12. 2017].

  • Berger SA 2009 ‘Production and reproduction of gender and sexuality in legal discourses of asylum in the United States’ Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society vol. 34 no. 3 pp. 659-685. DOI:10.1086/593380.

  • Díez IG 2011 ‘How the officials’ styles of recording the asylum seekers’ statements in reports affect the assessment of applications: the case of Belgian asylum agencies’ Text and Talk vol. 31 no. 5 pp. 553-577.

  • Eurostat 2017 Asylum and first-time asylum applicants Eurostat. Available from: . [Last accessed 6.11.2017].

  • Fairclough N 1989 Language and power Longman Publishing London.

  • Fairclough N 2003 Analysing discourse: textual analysis for social research Routledge London.

  • Guild E & Bigo D 2003 ‘La visa Schengen: expression d’une stratégie de. police.à distance’ Cultures et conflits vol. 49 pp. 22-37.

  • Herlihy J Jobson L & Turner S 2012 ‘Just tell us what happened to you: autobiographical memory and seeking asylum’ Applied Cognitive Psychology vol. 26 no. 5 pp. 661-676.

  • Herlihy J & Turner SW 2009 ‘The psychology of seeking protection’ International Journal of Refugee Law vol. 21 no. 2 pp. 171-192.

  • Johansson Blight K 2015 ‘Questioning fairness in Swedish asylum decisions’ State Crime vol. 4 no. 1 pp. 52-76.

  • Karakayali S & Rigo E 2010 ‘Mapping the European space of circulation’ in The deportation regime: sovereignty space and the freedom of movement eds. N De Genova & N Peutz Duke University Press Durham London pp. 123–144.

  • Könönen J 2015 Tilapäinen elämä joustava työ. Rajat maahanmuuton ja työvoiman mekanismina Itä-Suomen yliopisto Joensuu.

  • McKinnon SL 2009 ‘Citizenship and the performance of credibility: audiencing gender-based asylum seekers in U.S. immigration courts’ Text and Performance Quarterly vol. 29 no. 3 pp. 205-221.

  • Melloy KE 2007 ‘Telling truths: how the REAL ID Act’s credibility provisions affect women asylum seekers’ Iowa Law Review vol. 92 no. 2 pp. 637-677.

  • Mezzadra S & Neilson D 2013 Border as method or the multiplication of labour Duke University Press Durham London.

  • Millbank J 2009 ‘The ring of truth: a case study of credibility assessment in particular social group refugee determinations’ International Journal of Refugee Law vol. 21 no. 1 pp. 1-33.

  • Noll G 2006 ‘Asylum claims and the translation of culture into politics’ Texas International Law Journal vol. 49 no. 491 pp. 491-502.

  • Pellander S 2015 ‘“An acceptable marriage”: marriage migration and moral gatekeeping in Finland’ Journal of Family Issues vol. 36 no. 11 pp. 1472-1489.

  • Ramji-Nogales J Schoenholtz AI & Schrag PG 2007 ‘Refugee roulette: disparities of asylum adjucation’ Stanford Law Review vol. 60 no. 2 pp. 295-412.

  • Rigo E 2009 Rajojen Eurooppa Like Helsinki.

  • Saarikkomäki E Oljakka N Vanto J Pirjatanniemi E Lavapuro J & Alvesalo-Kuusi A 2018 Kansainvälistä suojelua koskevat päätökset Maahanmuuttovirastossa 2015–2017. Pilottitutkimus 18-34-vuotiaita Irakin kansalaisia koskevista myönteisistä ja kielteisistä päätöksistä Oikeustieteellisen tiedekunnan tutkimusraportteja ja katsauksia 1/2018 Turun yliopisto Turku.

  • Satzewich V 2013 ‘Visa officers and gatekeepers of a state’s borders: the social determinants of discretion in spousal sponsorship case in Canada’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies vol. 40 no. 9 pp. 1450-1569.

  • Sweeney JA 2009 ‘Credibility proof and refugee law’ International Journal of Refugee Law vol. 21 no. 4 pp. 700-726.

  • Tiililä U 2000 ‘Tapaus päivähoitopäätös’ in Teksti työnä virka kielenä eds. V Heikkinen P Hiidenmaa & U Tiililä Gaudeamus Helsinki pp. 215-266.

  • Tiililä U 2007 Tekstit viraston työssä: tutkimus etuuspäätösten kielestä ja konteksteista Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura Helsinki.

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 1990 Convention on the rights of the child. UNHCR Geneva. Available from: <www.unhcr.org>. [Last accessed 18.4.2019].

  • UNHCR 2010 [1951] Convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees. UNHCR Geneva. Available from: <www.unhcr.org>. [Last accessed 4.12.2017].

  • UNHCR 2011 Handbook and guidelines on procedures and criteria for determining refugee status. UNHCR Geneva. Available from: <www.unhcr.org>. [Last accessed 4.12. 2017].

  • Van Leeuwen T 2007 ‘Legitimation in discourse and communication’ Discourse & Communication vol. 1 no. 1 pp. 91-112. DOI:10.1177/1750481307071986.

  • Van Leeuwen T & Wodak R 1999 ‘Legitimizing immigration control: a discourse-historical analysis’ Discourse Studies vol. 1 no. 1 pp. 83-118.

  • Virolainen J & Martikainen P 2010 Tuomion perusteleminen Talentum Helsinki.

  • Vogler S 2016 ‘Legally queer: the construction of sexuality in LGBQ asylum claims’ Law and Society Review vol. 50 no. 4 pp. 856-889.

  • Wikström H & Johansson T 2013 ‘Credibility assessments as ‘normative leakage’: asylum applications gender and class’ Social Inclusion vol. 1 no. 2 pp. 92-101.

Search
Journal information
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 773 773 136
PDF Downloads 619 619 121