The way this issue of AS has been politicised is abhorrent .
Asylum seekers eventually become immigrants once processed-it is just the arrival and treatment while waiting for acceptance that is the cause for concern.
Just a few thoughts that are coloured by the fact that I, like many others, was born in a country that was occupied during WW2 and my father(in the resistance) was desperate to take us as far from Europe as possible.. With 4 children he only just scraped in by lying about his occupation as there was no demand for his skills. Once in NZ , the reality overwhelmed him at times but he could never return -lack of money, pride, children settled . While safe with a house and income , there was nevertheless huge grief at loss of family, language, culture, etc. hidden under pride and bravado. So even at the best of times, migration has a real downside.
At the time, Australian immigrants were sent direct into migrant camps whereas NZ allowed farmers to sponsor families directly, so there seems to be a history here of ‘grouping’, which, while supportive in many ways ,can also backfire when there are ill-feelings . By living separately in the community, we adopted the new country and language as our own much faster than my relatives who came here to Oz.
Have watched immigrants overseas in particular where they face discrimination and many spend much time looking over their shoulders, struggling with language often for a pittance not to mention the problems their children often face especially if their appearance is different. And resentment if they do too well. For every success there are many failures.
Criminals do slip through normal immigration channels anyway (Cosa Nostra, Chinese Triads, etc.) and the ‘political terrorist’ branding often depends on hue of government in power at the time (Habib now visiting Egypt is case in point) So I can’t understand why it takes so long to process residency applications other than it being used as a deterrent . ( Applies to UK, EU,etc. applicants as well .)
Unfortunately for Australia, too many want to come HERE- not anywhere else- and not just for refuge. Often those who really need to escape, can’t. Those on boats have paid agents often the last of their money ,as Jewish people did in the ’40s, and are not aware of the standard of boats they will be travelling on. I think children are often sent ahead as footholds, the same way the Chinese sent their kids here as students and then were able to immigrate under the family reunion scheme. I can’t blame people for wanting to improve their lives.
Immigration from Europe stopped once safety was re-established, living conditions improved and those who were unhappy in their new country spread the word of disappointment back home.
Now all these years later, while I can understand my father’s desperation and fear, I often wonder if he would have done it again, given a second chance. And he didn’t even risk life and limb on a leaky boat.
It would be interesting to know if any follow up has been done of those refugees who arrived in leaky boats and were eventually settled during the Howard years? Those women and children who were stuck behind razor wire, how are they now?
Legacy of a sad difficult problem, dangerously inflamed by one J.W. Howard.