FAQ's & immigration

From: Neil Blanch (neilb@nswcc.org.au)
Date: Tue Jan 01 2002 - 22:44:41 MST

In v6#362 Robert Bradley wrote: "The immigration system by its very nature
was designed to promote production -- ~200 years ago it was designed to
promote the production of furs. ~100-150 years ago it was designed to
promote the production of metals and food. ~50-100 years ago it was designed
to promote industrial manufacturing. It is my sense that the immigration
policy is now passed on because those of us whose ancestors at one point
were able to use it as a point of leverage feel it is only just that others
should be able to do so as well. In other words its a "generous gift" and
not a "right"."

In Australia at present we are having some very heated debates regarding
immigration, particularly in regard to illegal immigrants & refugees. Our
current governmental response (which I should state I am VERY much opposed
to) is one of punishment: all illegal immigrants/refugees (in govspeak they
are now called "asylum seekers") are detained (i.e.: jailed in "detention
centres"), or, if their boat is detected before it lands they are jailed in
centres off the Australian mainland in "friendly" countries (eg Naru) that
have totally inadequate facilities at huge cost (so far we have spent so
much money on "exporting" our asylum seekers that they could all stay in a
$100 per night hotel for the next three years!).

Obviously this solution is not working and is costing millions to implement.
To my mind this is at best a band-aid solution. The majority of immigrants &
refugees (at least the one's we seem to be getting) have two main reasons to
immigrate or seek refugee status:

        1. They are fleeing countries where they have been persecuted
for political, religious or ethnic reasons.
        2. They are wish to immigrate for purely economical reasons
(i.e.. The standard of living is much higher than their homeland.

The current punishment method that Australia is employing is simply not
working, is bloody expensive, and worst of all makes the nation look like a
pack of bastards. To my mind we need to take a more long-term solution, and
that is to remove the incentives for people to immigrate illegally. For
immigration reason 1 we need to take human rights issues, on a global scale,
more seriously. Those nations that continue to commit human rights abuses
should be punished for those abuses. I am not suggesting military action
(except perhaps as a last solution in extreme cases), punishment can take on
many forms including (& not limited to) diplomatic actions & economic

For those who are immigrating for economic reasons the only option I see
working over the long term is investing in those countries who are less
fortunate than us. If we can improve the standard of living, the employment
opportunities and the basic infrastructure in the immigrant's homeland, then
much of the impetus for immigration is removed. Surely by removing the
underlying drives behind illegal immigration by making the immigrant's
homelands a better place to live, we should at least be able to dramatically
slow the rate of immigration. Of course this proposition will be a difficult
sell to the tax paying corporations & public of the 1st world despite the
long-term gains of additional markets for our own exports and a larger
percentage of the world population being more favourable towards the
assisting countries...

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