Monday, May 09, 2011

Immigration - my thoughts

I'm pretty confused about this one. Why send "boat people" to Malaysia when we already have a centre in Nauru? I'm sure the people of Nauru would like their jobs back. But I guess it was organised by John Howard, and if Julia Gillard uses it, it will be seen as endorsing his policy. But as she is using exactly the same policy, why not use a centre that is already built.

My main issue with our immigration policies, especially around boat people is as the ad says, they are desperate people who have used desperate means. I think if you are scared for your life, you can't get on a bus to Kabul to go to the embassy to fill in the forms, or the embassy in Khartoum as we probably don't have one. These poor people are running for their lives. I would equate them with battered women (and men to appease those people who always announce that men can be battered too) who run to a women's refuge in the middle of the night with only their clothes. Why didn't they organise some money, a divorce lawyer, a new place to live and pack all of their belongings. Oh that's right, they are in fear of their lives.

Maybe the government needs to spend more money on employing people to do background checks on asylum seekers, as I believe anecdotally that most boat people are legitimate refugees. According to
  • Cost of detainment per person, per day on Christmas Island (as of 2007): $1830  — SMH
  • Cost of detainment per person, per day at Sydney’s Villawood detention centre (as of 2007): $238  —  SMH
During the riots on Christmas Island there were about 2500 people on Christmas Island. So if the Department of Immigration employ an extra 50 people to do background checks and pay them an annual pay rate of $75,000 that is the same cost as keeping 50 people in detention for 7 weeks. As most stay about a year... it makes economic sense... and most of them get asylum anyway! If my figures are wrong, I apologise, but you get what I mean.

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