Chasing votes. Enraging the remnants of One Nation, the Howard Government has pinched its immigration policy by enacting the Border Protection Act. This cruel law permits officials to board refugee boats and threaten the occupants. Refugees who are in danger of death will be limited to three-year temporary residency visas, if they’ve “arrived illegally.” The ALP and the Democrats clamoured to vote for the Act, because they didn’t want to appear “soft on illegals,” knowing the redneck vote is up for grabs.
Capitalism’s victims. Tens of millions of people are displaced through war and poverty. As a direct result of the Australian-backed UN sanctions, 1.5 million people have died in Iraq. Millions of others fled to Iran, but are now facing deportation to Iraq, to face harsh treatment from Saddam Hussein’s Government. Without travel documents, they can’t get into the queue for the paltry 12,000 refugee places available in Australia. So they risk their lives on perilous sea journeys, because they are desperate.
Racist concentration camps. In 1999, scarcely 2,000 people arrived by sea. The majority of undocumented immigrants are whites from the U.S. and Europe, but the remote refugee jails are crammed with people of colour. On top of that, there’s a bias toward wealthy and “skilled” immigrants, whose money or expertise is a remedy for having the “wrong” pigmentation. Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock is a white supremacist determined to create panic in the community about hordes of “invading boat people.”
Open the Borders! Trade agreements mandate unimpeded cross-border movement for capital, yet workers are corralled behind barbed wire frontiers designed to impede international solidarity between the scattered, exploited employees of giant transnationals. Free movement for people, too! Let workers travel where work and sanctuary are available. Full citizenship rights for all residents, and full health and social security support for refugees. Australia’s immigration laws are a disgrace with one purpose — to maximise profits and divide the working class. Abolish them now!