Finnish radio station Yle reported the development on Sept. 14. According to the outlet, the metal fence spanning three kilometers had been erected in the South Karelia region near the busiest border crossing. The fence located in the southeastern town of Imatra stands three meters high and is topped with barbed wire.
Construction of the fence on Finland's eastern land border with Russia, which measures 1,340 kilometers (833 miles) long, began in the spring. It was initially projected to be completed by the end of June, but the projected completion date got pushed back. Difficulties in construction and time-consuming installations of the monitoring system contributed to the delays.
Several hundred meters of the test section are also located in the area of the local military barracks, where surveillance techniques are being tested. Ultimately, Remix News said about 70 km (43.5 mi) of the border in this region is slated for fencing in the area. "The experience from the pilot will be used in the next stages of work," said Ismo Kurki, project leader for southeastern Finland's FBG unit.
Meanwhile, the FBG's Lapland branch reported that tree cutting for a similar fence began in early September. Initial work on building a barrier in the northern Lapland region has commenced, it added. The barrier will be erected in the municipality of Salla, Remix News stated.
However, building the border fence in Lapland is no easy task. Challenging soil and water conditions in the form of swamps and impassable forests already hinder illegal migration. Given this, the fence will only be erected along the main road, with a pontoon bridge becoming necessary to secure the rest of the border.
Helsinki ultimately intends to secure approximately 200 km (124.27 mi) of its land border with Russia, about 15 percent of Finland's entire eastern border. The border fence project is expected to be completed by 2026. (Related: Suddenly, walls work! Finland begins construction on 124-mile wall along border with Russia.)
According to Remix News, the border fence construction was part of the hard-line approach to immigration espoused by the new conservative government in Helsinki. This new government, which ascended to power in June, comprised of the majority National Coalition Party (NCP) and the Finns Party. The majority parties joined two minority factions – the Swedish People's Party and the Christian Democrats – to form a coalition government.
Under the coalition government, the NCP's Petteri Orpo became prime minister. The Finns Party, led by Deputy Prime Minister Riikka Purra, provided "instruction" and "special influence" over the country's immigration policy.
"I am delighted [to announce] that together with our negotiating partners, we have agreed on an immigration package that can be rightly called a paradigm shift in immigration policy," Purra told reporters following negotiations for a coalition agreement among the four parties.
According to the deputy prime minister, the agreement included plans to cut refugee quotas; increase the threshold for migrants to obtain work visas to come to Finland; and extend the duration foreign nationals need to reside in the country before they can apply for citizenship.
Under the agreement, "the government will make international protection temporary in nature" by putting a three-year limit. [It] will examine the possibilities to impose a prison sentence as punishment for illegal stays in the country, taking into account the impacts of this on general government finances."
Criminal offenses by migrants will be dealt with in the strictest manner, with those found guilty of a serious crime having their protection revoked and being banned from the country.
"Rejected asylum applicants will return, or will be returned to, their countries of origin as soon as possible," it added. "The government will ensure that the asylum process will not become a channel for job-seeking and labor immigration."
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Watch this clip of U.S. Border Patrol agents revealing the wide-open borders that allow illegal aliens to cross, a stark contrast to what Finland is doing.
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