Politics of Immigration

June 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Australia, discrimination, Immigration, Politics, War and Conflict | 34 Comments
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I am loth to write about political situations but, following the example of another writer-blogger,  I have finally gotten up the courage to speak out.

There is a lot of emotion being generated around the world by the Trump administration’s treatment of so-called illegal migrants in the U.S, especially the separation of children from their parents. These emotions – horror, disbelief, deep sympathy and compassion for the trauma these children are suffering – are well-founded and justified. What is being done there is appalling.

What many people don’t see, because it is hidden as much as possible by the govt here in Australia, is an equally appalling situation. This is what is being done to seekers of refuge who came to this country by boat. To seek asylum in another country is perfectly legal, and yet we have our govt happily locking up refugee kids (albeit with their parent/s) in prison camps on Manus Island in P-NG and on Nauru in the Pacific in terrible conditions. Most of these refugees, kids included, have been incarcerated for several years – up to 5 years at present.

Refugee Children On Nauru

Refugee children on Nauru

The men, women & children, having already been traumatised by the life they fled, are in a bad way – physically, mentally and emotionally. They are treated appallingly – not given decent treatment for illnesses, injuries childbirth issues, and psychiatric problems associated with their incarceration. Several have died because of that lack of treatment. Others have taken their own lives because they cannot cope any longer with the conditions, the brutality of the system and its administrators, their demonisation by the govt, their lack of hope and uncertainty about the future.

Both our major political parties – the Coalition Liberal-Nationals in government and Labor in Opposition – are happy to stir up fear and hatred of refugees within the populace in order to create and conduct a disgraceful policy of deterrence. They say it will prevent more “boat people” from seeking asylum. They say it’s a matter of national security, but any thinking person knows it is simply to shore up the support of fearful, unsympathetic and uncaring voters.

Manus refugees

Refugee men on Manus Island

I hate to think what the outcomes of their treatment will be for those refugees when they are finally freed – what they will have to come to terms with and what they will have to overcome to be capable of living again in society. How much these refugees could have contributed to Australian society if they had been allowed to stay, we will never know. Instead, their lives have become a political football, and they may never know the peace they yearn for.

It seems that extreme right wing policies are having their day in many parts of the world. I just hope that the indignation & horror of good people– along with their raised voices and action – will turn the tide. I hope we can get back to what made Australia known for its friendliness and mateship. But I am afraid it will be a difficult road to return to.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” – Hebrews 13:2


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  1. I wish i had the solution, it’s incredibly sad. Thanks for writing this. It matters.

    • Yes it is both, Vicki – it’s sad and it matters.
      Check out the link to the other writer-blogger up on the end of the first line of this post. She wrote, from knowledge of child psychology, about Trump’s treatment of the children – a good post.

  2. You are brave to embrace the topic here, Linda. I try to listen to both sides of the political debate here in the States, even tuning in to the BBC news at times. What many people don’t realize is that sometimes children were separated from their parents BEFORE they reached the Mexican-US border, their parents choosing to send them ahead with others, for whatever reasons.

    I believe those who immigrate should obey the laws of whatever country they wish to enter. Refugees are a special category of immigrants because they are fleeing for their lives.

    Unfortunately, children are the collateral damage iin this contentious debate. For them I grieve.

  3. Thank you for sharing this sad situation with your readers, Linda, and with such eloquent compassion for the suffering of others, both children and families. I don’t condone breaking the law and controlling immigration makes sense, but to do so with such brutality should never be an option. There are solutions if only we are willing to set aside politics and work collaboratively to achieve them. My heart goes out to imprisoned families in the US and in Australia. Thanks for sharing the link to my post on the mental health impact of stress on children. ❤

    • You inspired me, Diana. Your own post was so reasoned and clear in explaining how trauma can affect children, and I knew I had to say something myself.
      I agree. There needs to be some control over immigration, and breaking a just law is wrong. It is when a law itself breaks both international law and the moral codes of our society, that law is rendered, because that is when brutality is condoned and innocent people suffer. We can only hope that reason will prevail and a compassionate solution is found and implemented.

      • Your post was beautifully and compassionately stated. ❤

  4. Great post, Linda. I believe many more of us [Australians] would be horrified by the detention camps if the shroud of secrecy were lifted. But of course, that is the last thing either party want because then voters would /know/. And they would have to make a moral and ethical decision. Far easier to keep us all ignorant. Trouble is, that is not how a healthy democracy works. 😦

    • Many thanks for your comment, Meeka. Yes, secrecy is also the tool of those who wish to wield unfettered power. 😦

      • I notice the new national security bill is close to being passed. I truly fear for whistleblowers as just about anything can be labelled ‘national security’. 😦

      • I have the same concern, Meeka. I dread thinking what we are heading for. 😦

      • Yup. 😦

  5. Separating them is one thing but to put them in cages is reprehensible.

  6. “A policy of deterrence” makes me shudder. It’s adopting cruelty as policy and, like you, I am sure there is a better, more humane and caring solution. Thank you for posting

  7. Sometimes you just have to say what is in your mind and heart. I am shamed by what is happening here. We should try living by the words below.

    Galatians 5:14 ESV /
    For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  8. Fascist uprisings never happen in isolation. We are in a global propaganda war launched by a fascist oligarch who wants to destroy Liberal Democracy; the system of government that emerged from the American Enlightenment. We see Putin’s tedious propaganda everywhere; the hot air of whataboutism, the cynical use of false moral equivalency, fake Patriots urging the weak willed to sell us out to the enemy for the illusion of racial superiority. The question is will the 21st Century be democratic century or fascist century. Shall we have universal literacy and live as a free people under a legal system based on human rights or will most of humanity live as destitute semi-literate slaves? It’s not all that complex.

    • The options are pretty clear, aren’t they, Robert. If thoughtful, caring people don’t speak out, and act ot, their opposition to what is happening, then the worst will happen. Thanks for your comment. Let’s hope and act for the best.

      • As I get older certain truisms hit home, one of them is, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

        The people will demand a return to constitutional norms and enforcement of the rule of law or we will live under a ruthless tyranny. It’s that simple.

  9. Your Bible quotation is so meaningful. I am appalled at how our country has stepped back in time to the old, segregated days where each group of people is separate.
    We had this lovely vision of a “melting pot” which both my Mom’s parents came across the ocean to start a new life. They were so proud of “being an American.” I feel saddened to hear that your country is also mistreating people seeking asylum and a “new life.”
    Thank you for this post and being brave to stand up and say something. I posted on Cinco de Mayo, a post about the “dreamers.” I am on vacation and hope to get back to blogging again in a week. . . Take care, Linda.

    • It seems to be a sign of the times that fear and division within society are being purposely used as a means to control us and lead us towards an uncertain future instead of one of toleration and unity. That “leaders” will do such a thing reflects the twisted ideologies they embrace. Let’s hope that people power will rise and overcome this awful trend.
      With hope, Linda

      • Yes, it may be different for others but I am ready to march to state: “We must be humans + show compassion.”
        Linda, I was one who although in high school had two cousins go to Vietnam. I heard their two perspectives and came to feel those hippies saying “Make Love Not War” weren’t just talking about personal feelings but about spreading Love.”
        I really like the Australian film, “The Sapphires” which not only included a ☮️ peaceful support to the Aussie troops, but held the story about the girls who were used as servants to make money. It showed some prejudices back in 1968, which were evident in my country, too.
        Peace be with you, my friend! 💕 🕊️

      • We are not too much different in our separate countries are we! Peace to you also. 🙂

  10. the problem with migrants is that we never hold our entire government accountable.

  11. I’m in such trouble here, Linda. I know that the treatment of migrants is reprehensible and indefensible but I also know how media and ‘special interest groups’ manipulate facts to twang heartstrings. I know, for example, the little crying girl figure was not separated from her parents but had just been put down by her mother for a couple of minutes while being searched. It is amazing how quick these groups are to retitle third world economic migrants as ‘refugees’, a term originally intended only to apply to those who are actually endangered in their own country.
    The current stream of migrants to the EU comprises predominantly young men whose objective is apparently to earn money to send home to their families – a worthy objective in itself but unhelpful to immigration authorities who fear terrorist infiltration as well as disturbance to the economic balance within the target states.

    I honestly don’t know how the wealthy nations will resolve this problem. In the end barriers are going to go up somewhere and suffering is going to result – personally I think wholesale violence is the most likely outcome. With global warming and poverty as the drivers population movement in the next couple of decades is likely to be counted in tens of millions rather than tens of thousands. How we avoid the prospect of mass starvation is perhaps an unanswerable question: is this how the dinosaurs died out? Does it signal the end of our species too?

    • I know where you are coming from Frederick. I know too that the photo was created to earn sympathy. There is a lot of manipulation of facts and photos by both sides. I also understand the difference between economic migrants and true asylum seekers.
      My focus on the situation in Australia it the real asylum seekers, who have come to seek safety from the wars and killings, the rape and pillaging of their homelands. That is why I am angry at what our government is doing by keeping these people in what amounts to concentration camps.
      I believe there are more people who come to this country legally but for nefarious purposes than there are who seek asylum. And it seems to me that by treating the asylum seekers as criminals is creating despair, anger and hopelessness that may even lead to the creation of terrorists.
      The subject is a fraught one, and I don’t know what the solution is. Yes, tighter immigration laws are needed, but they do need to also be humane.
      I would not be surprised if the future holds massive uprisings and wars and yes, perhaps even the reduction of our species to remnants around the world. It doesn’t look like a happy one, that’s for certain.

  12. I didn’t know this about Australia. A place that began as a respite for the poor and persecuted (and perhaps imprisoned) if I’m not mistaken? We countries who have become a place for others who want to live without fear, and with freedom and opportunity – if we close our eyes and hearts and minds to those families – we will become a lesser place.

    • We wiil, and in fact we already are, unfortunately. It seems to me that most Western are becoming harsher and more judgemental towards those who only seek safety and a better life. So sad to see.

      • Sad and wrong. Hopefully, we can put more light (and sense) into those who need to find more compassion and empathy into their minds.

  13. Human society is tribal and has always been so ; today the tribes are nations although there are tribal groups within those nations. To belong you have to have membership and that gives you tribal rights. Outsiders will be allowed in for various reasons such as working and today for studying. That is why in the UK the farmers and university’s are angry about the government restricting entry. Those within the tribe will have shown their allegiance by paying taxes , unless they can dodge them, and do not see why foreigners should benefit from their taxes. In times of austerity the right wing politicians soon rise up and point the finger at the in-comers , their main reason is to get elected and it’s a sure way in such times.

  14. The elite financially form their own tribe , they are mainly white , but not exclusively , and the sit at the top of the pyramid of wealth.
    The smallest tribal unit is the family and it’s members are knit together with strong bonds essential for survival.

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