Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 5:24 AM
Therefore, you’d think Australia would be solicitous about attracting new immigrants to its shores. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
For the record, over 1 million people migrated to the US last year; only 150 thousand migrated to Australia.
More to the point, Australians are exhibiting as much xenophobia today in dealing with their (undesirable) immigrants, namely Indonesians and Sri Lankans, as (relatively congested) Americans are in dealing with theirs, namely, Mexicans and Haitians.
Specifically, Australians are acting as if desperate asylum-seekers from war-ravaged Sri Lanka and economic refugees from poverty-stricken Indonesia – who have been washing up on their shores in increasing numbers this year – are a threat not only to their national security but also to their (white) heritage. The Economist posits that this reflects:
… fears, long embedded in the Australian psyche, of swarms of arrivals in the country’s north.
Actually, nothing demonstrates the irrational (if not racist) nature of their fears quite like the fact that Australians insisted this year that a “swarm” of 1,200 boat people be detained and repatriated; whereas, none of them lifted a finger in protest last year when 14,000 tourists “melted” into their country after arriving by air and overstaying their visas.
Of course, the US set the precedent for this xenophobic double standard. Because it routinely directs almost all of its immigration enforcement resources towards patrolling its Southern border (to interdict the undesirables) despite the fact that nearly half of the 500,000 annual influx of illegal immigrants arrive by air and overstay their visas.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying that, but for rabid anti-Muslim sentiments, Australia would be emulating the relatively liberal immigration policy that contributed so much to the rise of America as world leader.
In fact, Australia is admired throughout Europe for the way it has enforced selective immigration (based on “family and government cohesion”). But this admiration reeks of the anti-Muslim sentiment that now permeates Europe and which is at the heart of Australia’s dogged attempt to control immigration from Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.
Not to mention that most Australians, like far too many Europeans and Americans, now unfairly equate Muslim immigration with Trojan-horse terrorism.
All of which makes one wonder what their new, more liberal prime minister, Kevin Rudd, meant when he pledged to implement an immigration policy that is “tough but humane.” Because he seems just as determined as his predecessors were to keep Australia as white as possible … with all due respect to the (native) aborigines.
Indeed, perhaps Rudd only intended to treat these non-white immigrants more humanely before sending them back where they came from.