Inadequate refugee policy and resettlement program

15/4/10; (2 Items)

We don’t refer to visa overstayers from Britain, the US or Europe as asylum-seekers. So, now that our Department of Immigration has decreed that Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are no longer dangerous places, let’s treat everyone equally and start referring to them as illegal immigrants. And what is to become of those already here? Presumably indefinite detention until they can be sent home. But Christmas Island is full. So where to send them? I can feel the Pacific Solution Mark II coming on. Arthur Hurwitz, Randwick, NSW

More Letters:

Take politics out of border protection
Malcolm Fraserl 15/4/10;
The major parties should quietly agree on a humane refugee policy. The political debate over asylum seekers demeans Australia and severely damages our reputation as a compassionate and humane country. Both political parties are at fault. The opposition has unashamedly continued to play a race card as it did over Tampa. It has said time and again that the government has lost control of Australia’s border protection knowing that that charge is false. It is false because the number of asylum seekers – whether it be 4000 or 5000 a year – is not enough to alter the complexion of Australia or to challenge Australia’s values. It is false because the number of asylum seekers who come here by air with falsified papers has always outnumbered the number who come by boat. Those coming by air claim to be students or on a holiday visa and when they get here they say they want to claim asylum. It means they have come on false papers with a false declaration and yet they are not shut up in detention centres, they are not vilified, they wander around the streets of Australia until their claims are judged. And only about 30 per cent have been found to meet the criteria to be granted refugee status.