|Suspects hard to identify|
The Australian 2002-12-14
reports of 13,737 failed asylum seekers vanishing into thin air in Australia
over the last five years. However, in 1997 Phil Ruddock's office stated that no
bridging visa recipients had failed to meet their reporting obligations. What
Well, in the good-old days, the asylum seekers were
given taxpayers money for doing nothing except
reporting in occasionally, and telling the immigration department (DIMA) when they were moving house. Nice work,
if you don't have to do it. There was also little or no prospect of being sent
home. The mere suggestion that such a person might lie or deliberately vanish
was simply regarded as racist, and ignored.
Suddenly in the post Tampa-tantrum, post September-11 and post Taliban world, there is a very
real chance of them being sent home - at least for the Afghans (and the
Pakistanis pretending to Afghans) if not (after the coming Gulf War-III) the Iraqis. Add to this the fact that
the opening batches of temporary protection visas are expiring soon, and
suddenly turning up to meet their reporting obligations seems rather less
The result is nearly 14,000 asylum seekers reverting to type. After
people-smuggling gangs to organize their trips to Australia, they are now
relying on on similar criminal networks to meet their needs while in Australia.
Fortunately the burden on the tax-payer is reduced. While many absconders
will be sharing Medicare cards and suchlike, they will find it quite difficult
to get educational
benefits, or to suck directly on the welfare tit. And if any are
picked up committing crimes, they can be thrown straight into Villawood.
In the meantime, the ALP's
policy of releasing all asylum seekers into the community within 90 days has
about a Baktiari of credibility.