|Fortress or Mattress?|
We have to address a more fundamental question than 'what about asylum
seekers', namely 'what are our obligations to people in other countries?'
If we believe that all people have equal rights to come to Australia, then we
are in favor of an open door policy, and few Australians will agree with us.
Otherwise we believe in limiting entry to Australia.
If we believe that there are people who can immigrate to Australia in a
mutually consensual way, AND benefit themselves AND Australians then lets
invite those people. If we are going to do this then I suggest we focus on
who would be most beneficial for us.
Otherwise we are giving welfare to foreigners.
Lets ask why we give welfare to foreigners.
If it is because we feel that property is theft, and we feel bad about being
comparatively rich, and want to allay our consciences by giving money to some
cause with the word 'suffering' in the title, then fine, lets say so.
But if this is the case we may as well just give all the guilt money
to a random refugee and save ourselves the administrative overhead of
trying to make the system look 'fair'.
If we wish to actually help people by giving money and maximize the total
utility from it, then fine, lets say so. In this case we want the most people
to get the most benefit from the money. There are refugees in the world in
genuine risk and who are genuinely suffering. Bringing 12000 people per year to
a first world country, and giving them $20,000pa in money and subsidies is
expensive. The same money could be used to significantly help far more than
12000 people near their country of origin.
Simply giving $20,000/pa in money and subsidies to people who can afford to
break our laws by employing a peoplesmuggler is one way of helping people.
But it is one of the worst ways there is.