Australia’s attitude to immigration is not that different from that of new American President Donald Trump with an analysis of recent policy suggesting that the country is far tougher than many might think.
According to legal experts, border control policies in both countries amount to a ‘crimmigration crisis’ which is as a trend to create largely unfettered and unscrutinised executive powers.
It is suggested that some steps taken in Australia are just as tough as the recent Executive Order from Trump that banned people from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.
Some have pointed out that this is a temporary ban while officials work on a new immigration policy that Trump wants to be tough on potential terrorists while others say it potentially breaches human rights.
However, experts have pointed out that Australia has also been introducing tougher measures recently with policies and law aimed at removing anyone from the country that might be a terrorist threat as well as preventing them arriving in the first place.
But in some ways this is leading to those who may commit a minor offence facing their visas being cancelled even though they are not a terrorist threat. It could mean that someone who is suspected of committing a crime could have their visa cancelled even if they are subsequently cleared.
Figures show that between 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 the number of visa cancellations on character grounds increased tenfold. In 2015/2016 some 983 visas were cancelled on character grounds.
In 2013 a code of behaviour for asylum seekers was introduced and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has signalled an intention to expand these powers. A parliamentary committee is also looking at lowering the age for visa cancellation on character grounds to include children of 16 or 17 years.
According to Anthea Vogl, a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology who researches migration law and policy, and Elyse Methven, an associate lecturer at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australians should realise that Trump’s policies are not that different from those found and reflected in Australia.
‘Trump’s executive orders against non-citizens constitute crimmigration in action. Rather than sigh with relief in the knowledge that we are not living in Trump’s America, Australians should recognise how his policies are founded and reflected in our own, and unite with Americans in protest against the use of non-citizens as political fodder,’ they said in a report.
Katja Kristina Theodorakis, a graduate research scholar at the Australian National Univerisity’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, said that moves such as those announced by Trump ‘feeds the extremist jihadi narrative’ and have the potential to undo previous attempts at presenting a more balanced and nuanced counter terrorism approach to terror.