Why Even Bother Stopping the Boats?

A hot issue in Australian politics right now is stopping the influx of 'boat people', refugees/asylum-seekers coming into the country via profiteering people smugglers. The pretense is an issue of safety, with several boats having recently capsized causing the loss of life, some of which were children.

Then there's the secondary concerns like whether these people are even genuine refugees and just the fact that they've 'jumped the queue' to get into this country (suggesting that refugees have access to a formal process of leaving their own country).

If these boat people do actually make it to Australia we spend thousands (millions?) of dollars putting them into detention centres on neighbouring islands, spend months processing refugee status claims and, now, ship them off to Papua New Guinea for resettlement.

What the hell, Australia?

Why not turn this problem to our advantage and put the onus back onto the countries these people are fleeing from to secure their own damn borders. Get them to stop their own boats.

Perhaps we could offer people smugglers a big fat bonus if their boats are approved to a certain level of sea worthiness and not overcrowded when they arrive here?

Lets stop spending on detention centres and start building refugee towns/communities near where the boats are arriving - why not even build ports for the boats?

Why not make these communities 'halfway communities'. The intention being that they are a pleasant place to stay and learn about Australian culture/lifestyle whilst each person's refugee application is being processed. Hire the refugee's themselves to maintain the community. Get them started on earning money for themselves and their families. Once their application is approved give them choices about where to resettle so they can put their knowledge into practice and really start a new life in the lucky country.

At the end of the day a refugee has just as much of a chance of creating new business and jobs as they do becoming reliant on welfare. There's no absolutes. There are plenty of stories of refugees becoming successful business people in our history. Since we're processing applications anyway, why not direct skilled refugees into locations that need those skills?

I've never bought into the idea that refugees will take our jobs. If that was really a concern, then stop letting people immigrate here through conventional channels, those people are taking our jobs too.

Let's start treating refugees like people. Let's show we actually care about giving them a new life and recognize their potential as a resource for economic growth. Let's stop wasting everyone's time with 'stopping the boats'.

If those countries don't appreciate their biggest resource enough to keep them from leaving then it's their loss and our gain.

2 comments:

  1. I like the way you think. When I lived in Tucson, Arizona I learned that I could be jailed for picking up an illegal coming out from Mexico. I was like, "sorry folks, but if I see a women carrying a child in the hot scorching summer sun of the southwest where temperatures can daily reach over the 100's, I'm giving the women a ride!" simple because its the humane thing to do.

    People on this side of the border wanted a wall, so now there is a Wall across the USA borders and Mexico. A Wall. We had to build a wall because smart people couldn't figure out something a little more compassionate towards our fellow humans as they sift through the drug runners and those trying to harbor a better life. I would really like to see the numbers show how this wall kept drugs from Mexico out of the US.

    American is nothing more than a big melted pot of people across all the lands here on this planet---how dare the powers that be don't figure out a way to make life in Mexico safe and appealing to their own natives ----this article made me go search for some articles on the building of the wall, and well, the whole thing just stabs at my heart, when you see an old women with small children trying to scale a wall, and that Holtzville, California actually has a graveyard for those who died in the desert at their failed attempts for a brighter future.

    Another great article by you, although it spun into me being very annoyed at what I learned reading articles on the subject.

    Yes, let them in, help them find their space, and let's everyone get along. How hard is it for anyone with a brain see that we are all in this together.

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    Replies
    1. Last century Australia used to have a 'White Australia' policy and then later had a fear of Asian immigrants (where most refugees here come from) despite being known as one the most successful multi-cultural nations on the planet.

      These days you only have to walk around a local shopping center to see people of many cultures and heritage.

      They say we can't just let refugees in because it would be economically damaging to our way of life. More people, more strain on the economy. If that were really true they'd bring in limits on child birth instead of paying people to have babies for the country's future (something our previous government did called 'the baby bonus'). I would imagine babies would put more strain on the economy for a longer period of time than any refugee, particularly those old enough to seek employment?

      Anyway, I don't get border protection when it comes to people. Sure you need to keep an eye on criminal activity, but genuine refugees should always get a chance.

      The Mexican border is a whole other issue. I don't know too much about it other than I know about the wall and people lose their lives trying to cross it. All I can say is they need to manage it with a more positive strategy that gives people hope and discourages people from risking their lives.

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