Finland's Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that the Finnish Immigration Service Migri can deport a Finland-born, Somali-background man due to his criminal record.
In its ruling, the court said there were strong grounds both for and against the man's deportation.
In addition to being born and living his entire life in Finland, the man is the guardian of two children living in Finland and he had been employed last year as a youth worker.
He also told the court that he has never visited Somalia and he does not know anyone living there. In the population information system, his mother tongue is recorded as Somali.
"Exceptionally long" criminal record
The court however noted that the man has an exceptionally long criminal record, with 11 convictions for robbery as well as others for theft, assault and intimidation. Between 2010 and 2017, he was sentenced to prison terms on a total of ten different occasions.
Even during the course of his deportation case, the man was suspected of having committed several crimes.
The court therefore ruled that the man's continued criminal activity was sufficient cause to justify his deportation.
"The consistency, quantity and quality of the crimes showed a lack of adaptation to Finnish society," the court stated.
Police initially proposed deporting the man in 2017 and Migri decided to deport him soon after, ordering a three-year ban on his entry into the Schengen area. The man first appealed this decision to the Administrative Court and then to the Supreme Administrative Court.
The man does not hold Finnish citizenship, but he does have a valid residence permit. A Finnish citizen cannot be deported, but citizenship can be revoked if a person commits certain very serious crimes.
"Extremely rare" case
The deportation of non-Finnish citizens who have committed crimes is by no means unusual. Migri have deported 41 foreigners resident in Finland this year alone, but this particular case is exceptional.
"Cases in which the deportee has lived in Finland all his or her life are extremely rare. I wouldn't say that this is the first, but there aren't many of them," Migri's Area Manager Olli Koskipirtti said.
It is not clear from the court's decision whether the man has already been deported, but police may enforce the deportation order within 30 days of the party being notified of the decision, unless the administrative court orders otherwise.
According to Koskipirtti, perpetrators of crimes are usually subject to longer re-entry bans than in this particular case. The typical length of a ban on returning to Finland is five years, but people who have committed serious crimes can be banned from the country indefinitely.
"If a person has lived for a long time in Finland, it is usually taken into account as a factor that can shorten the length of the ban on re-entry," Koskipirtti said.