Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen says that immigrants and asylum seekers in Finland who commit sexual assault should be deported and/or have their citizenship revoked.
National Coalition Party minister Mykkänen said that what he calls the "Finnish sense of justice" would easily accommodate the idea of deporting sexual offenders.
"Foreign people need to get the message that if you commit aggravated sexual crimes, you will be deported," Mykkänen said.
The minister said he believes that tougher punishments could have prevented at least some of the sexual assaults that have occurred in recent years.
Mykkänen added that a proposal is already in the works to strip Finnish citizenship from individuals who commit acts of terrorism or treason. That proposal does not include sexual offenses.
Punishments or reunification?
The Finnish Immigration Service's (Migri) reception centre chief Pekka Nuutinen says he agrees with Mykkänen that more severe consequences would deter asylum seekers and immigrants from committing crimes.
"Harder sanctions such as deportation could have a preventative effect," he said.
Nuutinen framed his views in light of three suspected sexual offenses against minors in Oulu in early December. Each of the crimes were allegedly committed by quota refugees or asylum seekers.
Nuutinen said that lack of information cannot be blamed for the criminal actions of those seeking asylum.
"Migri has sought to educate asylum seekers on Finnish legislation and the definition of sexual assault in Finland. I think offenders such as these know they are doing something illegal."
Speaking on the same issue, former president Tarja Halonen said over the weekend that efforts to reunify the families of asylum seekers should be redoubled to ensure integration. Halonen said that uniting families would bring "local communal control" and could prevent violent crimes.
Migri's Nuutinen said he agreed that reunification mechanisms for asylum seeker families should be revisited.