Monday, February 26, 2007

Australia Blocks Asylum Seekers....

It seems that Australia has begun to close down their borders in a similar fashion to the United States. The Australian Navy intercepted a boat with 85 passengers who claimed to be from Sri Lanka, but many of whom turned out to be from Indonesia. The Prime Minister, John Howard, has won 4 consecutive elections with his hard stance against illegal immigration. Howard won't allow these passengers to get to Australia. He has put them in a detention center just off the coast of Australia. It seems that everyone from third world countries wants to seek a better life, but is that really possible? Can anything truly be done about the world issue of poverty and discrimination? What is the proper thing to do in this situation-can you just let everyone in who comes to the boarders? It is a terrible situation for a government to turn people down, but is there anything that can actually be done?
These are some difficult questions because we are so privileged and lucky to be in the situations we currently are in. It is something I struggle with daily when I think about the lives of these people who have nothing. They don't even have the freedom to come to another country and seek a better life because the boarders aren't open with welcoming arms. It is truly a terrible situation, but I ask again, is there anything we can truly do but to make people aware of what is going on?


Anonymous said...

In response to your questions, I believe most countries are concerned with intent and consequence. If every country opened its boarders to everyone, then conflict would arise. The action of ‘floodgating’ one’s boarders will inevitablty come into conflict with itself. A country has to think of domestic as well as international interests. Australia is probably no different. ‘Seeking a better life’ may consequently ruin the lives of Australian people. Thus, the country must weigh costs and benefits. It seems as if most opposing countries adopt economic nationalism and turn into labour-market protectionists. They argue that a nation has the right to protect the jobs of their nation—as if the jobs were property. Thus by allowing foreigners to take these jobs is a loss of protection and property. Others may perhaps believe in corporate welfare because business is sometimes affected—though indirectly—by expenditures that promote immigration.
You ask ‘what is the proper thing to do in this situation-can you just let everyone in who comes to the boarders?’ there is no ‘one’-thing people can do. Each situation has extenuating circumstances that will no doubt affect the outcome of the respective situation. The ambiguous nature of immigration law leaves many decisions up to interpretation. There is no way the international community can adopt a maxim that applies to every case that arises. This would make immigration law to narrow and unwieldy.
With regards to the statement ‘it is a terrible situation for a government to turn people down…’ we could embrace a realist view that the world is a terrible place and there is nothing we can do about it. But I feel if we think this then we as a people have effectively surrendered our compassion, and ability to compromise and reason. Yet, what ‘actually [can] be done’? Should countries have free migration or become isolationists? It would be too liberal to advocate the former and far too conservative to argue the latter. Being to extreme to the left or the right will only result in illogical decisions fueled primarily by emotions and ego rather than by virtue and vigilance. Perhaps, people need to find a middle ground. Compromise is the only way.
I am curious what people think about this.

--Tom_Hagen (my account is under construction right now)

morgan marks said...

Just touching on Tom_Hagen 's last few sentences... In this world, compromise seems to be the only way, especially with immigration law and practice. The problem with compromise is interpretation and opinion - since people are not willing to back down, and not willing to compromise their beliefs. How do we successfully compromise? Considering that people have different and strong view points, then how difficult is it to have an entire country compromise on such a sticky topic as that of immigration? I would hope that everyone does not see the world as a terrible place, because though many bad things happen, many good things happen too. Sometimes we forget to look for them, because though sometimes they may seem small, there can be many - and the more people that are willing to put down their guard and really think about what they believe, from a worldview, I believe change can happen. Tom_Hagen brings up the topic of 'reason,' which I believe so many have lost sight of - what is moral and right and just. Those are the things people must remember if compromise is to occur. I think immigration frightens people and makes many uncomfortable - for many reasons, whether it be economic with immigrants taking over jobs, or whether it be prejudiced and racist, judging immigrants for where they come from, and maybe their religion. So many barriers need to be broken, and if I had to make suggestions, one would be to create more awareness. Awareness through education - like the class that we are all enrolled in. Our generation needs to be the ones to break barriers... so we need to get involved. compromise, reason, and create change.

HeWhoWould said...

The one thing we are forgetting is allowing illegal immigrants into a country fair to those that have to prove their worth and enter into a country legally. It is a lot easier to get into a country illegally even though it is also much more dangerous. If Australia is detain immigrants on a n island of the coast of its shores then this might be a beginning of a trend that we can see in other countries. Or is the US and Australia different because they are surrounded by water and their coast guards are some what effective of preventing immigrants from entering illegally. Either way could the detention be seen as deterrence to those who wish to enter these two countries illegally? Maybe but I also understand that it is a type of cruelty as well.