Australian Immigration Madness

October 31, 2008

mohammed290.jpgI travel in and out of here with nary a thought for border control, just glad that I can do so easily. But we (Australia) have an extremely fine mesh immigration net that catches all sorts. I know from experience that it hooks the sharks, and does so in such a way that we are the envy of other border management agencies around the world. But sadly it catches the good guys as well. Sometimes with fatal consequences. Mohammed Hussein here is one example. Mohammed, an Afghan exile who was held in detention in Australia, was sent home only to be executed by the Taliban – a tough way to validate his claims that his life was in danger.  Mohammed “was tortured and beheaded by kidnappers less than four weeks ago in a province south of Kabul. [He] was thrown down a well by gunmen, believed to be the Taliban. Then in front of onlookers including members of his family, the killers threw a hand grenade down the well and he was decapitated.”

My Middle Eastern friend who barely escaped with his life but who was exiled along with his family  is another example. I and my friends who attempted to represent him got a taste of the Kafkaesque madness of the Refugee Tribunal Court system – no wonder my friend wanted to commit suicide: he was motivated by prospects awaiting him in his home country, and the madness of our own system. The degree of that madness is only highlighted by the news this week that a German doctor, working in the country town of Horsham, is to be deported (after being imported to help address a doctor shortage in country towns) because his Downs Syndrome son is, or will be a drain on our resources. Whichever way you cut that story it is only offensive and reflects poorly on our nation, our hospitality, humanity and our generosity. Erring on the side of disbelief, or worse, assuming a desperate migrate is telling a furphy (lie) has fatal consequences as we see from Mohammed. The flaw in the approach was also highlighted for me this week by an Armenian friend whose brother fled Saddam. Denied asylum here, he was granted access to the US within 2 weeks, became a citizen and worked for the State Department on the “Iraq problem”. Seems like we wasted an opportunity there. At least he had an option up his sleeve by having family already in the US ready to help him out. Poor Mohammed had few options after we closed the door in his face except to wait for his killers.


2 Responses to “Australian Immigration Madness”

  1. John on November 1st, 2008 11:25 am

    Oh God. This piece was truly shattering. Sometimes, the cruelty of the world, is beyond measure…

  2. Mary Arch on November 21st, 2008 5:51 pm

    I saw this guy in a documentary on Nov 19…SBS 8.30pm called ‘WellFounded Fear’. Have you seen it? Worth a look. I was gutted. I have close friends who were Afghan asylum seekers, now Australian citizens, went through the whole detention centre thing. Their stories are astonishing.

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