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Confirmation - immigration out of control

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Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Parliament House Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062


Recent reports suggesting that 950 illegal immigrants caught in Victoria since November last year cannot be removed, is proof positive that loopholes in the immigration law are preventing prompt deportation.

The reasons why this situation persists has not been made explicit by the Government. Nevertheless it is not hard to recognise how it has occurred.

First, any illegal entrant once apprehended is entitled to make claims for refugee status. Such claims will have been held largely in abeyance because of a backlog of 17,000 applications currently in the system. Even the first tier decision making process, which is designed to ensure immediate rejection of non-bona fide claims, has been held up while new refugee determination arrangements are put in place.

With the present limited resources applied to this area of the immigration program, there is little expectation that this situation will change in the short term. It has been estimated by the Department that only 3000 claims a year will be processed, even with the new arrangements in place.

Secondly, while amendments to the Immigration Act in 1989 were intended to close off access to grant permanent residence on shore, compromises over time have created new opportunities for applications, particularly for medium to long-term illegal entrants.

Contrary to fears expressed that mandatory deportation would lead to harsh and unconscionable decisions, the evidence seems to suggest that the balance is still against effective immigration and entry control and in favour

of illegals intent on staying.

August 19 1991