Friday May 18, 2007 12:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
"The deal reached in the US between Democrats and Republicans to grant permanent residency to 12 million illegal arrivals (report below) has put Australia's attitude to unannounced asylum seekers arriving by boat, by incorrectly describing them as "illegals", even while they class themselves as asylum claimants, right at the bottom of the heap of all western countries who signed the UN Refugee Convention," WA Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"A few months ago, when the Dutch government was renewed through an election, former Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk - nicknamed 'the Iron Maiden' - had already lost her portfolio over her policies of intending to expel up to 26,000 outprocessed claimants, and after the new Dutch government was installed, an amnesty was declared for all 26,000 migrants living without citizenship or resident permits in The Netherlands," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Even the staunchest underminers of the UN Refugee Convention in ultra-conservative governments are now showing to have a heart," Mr Smit said. "Regrettably these two great developments in the US and The Netherlands have now put Australia up as the front runner for the 'Gold Vilification Medal' in the way it treats unannounced boat arrivals.
"It's time that Australia halts its undermining of boat arrivals and its closing of borders, and regrettably this call needs to be issued not just to the Howard government but also to Labor, which maintains up till now its own "mini-excision zone" in a futile attempt to 'stop the boats'."
"Soon the 'real migration crisis' of the 'human tide', as the UK Christian Aid Agency calls it in the May 2007 report calls it, where up to two billion people will be in need of relocation to a better country. Australia urgently needs a new heart, where it needs to be bold and generous and double, triple, quadruple - and more - its current 13,000 annual humanitarian intake, and design this increase for climate refugees, and a change of heart so that it starts shouldering the burden of the world's climate change as expressed in the number of people without countries, or without countries that can sustain them."
Report: Human tide: the real migration crisis
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
US Senators strike deal on immigration overhaul
ABC ONLINE NEWS
Friday, May 18, 2007, 11:41am (AEST)
The United States Senate has reached an agreement that could pave the way for permanent citizenship for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.
The draft bill - agreed to by Democrats and Republicans - is still being finalised, but proposes the creation of a temporary worker program and a merit-based system for future immigrants.
If passed, the bill will allow millions of undocumented workers, mostly from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, to apply for legal status immediately.
However Republican Senator Arlen Specter says the agreement does not offer a blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants.
"We have required that the undocumented immigrants earn their right to citizenship," he said.
"It is not amnesty, this will restore the rule of law. Without legislation we will have anarchy."