One of the most curious arguments — and that’s saying something — over the past decade of refugee madness has been the idea that treating refugees humanely and according to our international treaty obligations is to encourage people smugglers, and thereby be complicit in refugee deaths when boats sink. Here’s Andrew Bolt (and Mark Latham) on that:
Labor senator Doug Cameron on ABC Radio’s The World Today on September 2:
WE should stop making asylum-seekers the problem and vilifying asylum-seekers. It’s not their problem that the only way they can get here is through people-smugglers.
Mark Latham in The Australian Financial Review yesterday.
NORMALLY, when families are killed, as many were on the cliffs of Christmas Island last December and in scores of other boatpeople drownings, it is regarded as a problem. Not for Cameron, however. He sees no problem in asylum-seekers bypassing United Nations processing centres and paying people-smugglers large amounts of money to sail to Australia. Apparently he is untroubled by the use of ramshackle vessels for this task. Cameron and his colleagues must be incredibly, indeed barbarically, stubborn not to abandon the left-wing shibboleth of onshore processing.
Most boat-borne arrivals are eventually granted refugee status — by the weird logic of refugee law they therefore retrospectively gain the right to have made the journey that Latham suggests we are, immorally, encouraging them on. The full insanity of this is only clear if you compare it with another lethal refugee process — crossing the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989, Germans who made it across the wall/city border from Stalinist East Germany were automatically granted West German citizenship. About 140 were killed doing it, about 100 by shooting and another 40 from drowning in the river, heart attack, etc. By the Bolt/Latham logic, the West is responsible for their deaths — had it threatened to return escapees to the East, no one would have tried it, therefore no deaths. The same can be said for Cubans heading for Florida by raft who, for a time, could claim automatic refugee status in the US. Nixon and Reagan are presumably to blame for their deaths.
In fact, what always kills refugees is obliging them to play cat and mouse with authorities. More Haitians than Cubans were killed trying to make it to Florida by raft, and more have died crossing the Mexico-US border than the entire Iron Curtain — even though no comparable citizenship guarantee (indeed quite the opposite) was offered to them. Is there anything more squalid than this attempt to turn “offshore processing”, that desperate kludge of both parties, into a humanitarian policy? — Guy Rundle