‘Because Migri Says So’: Legitimation in Negative Asylum Decisions in Finland



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.


asylum seekersasylum decisionscredibilitylegitimationFinland
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 10 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 5–19
  • DOI: 10.33134/njmr.134
  • Submitted on 1 Apr 2020
  • Accepted on 1 Apr 2020
  • Published on 28 May 2020
  • Peer Reviewed