Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asylum seekers debate

It will be interesting to see what everybody has to say about this issue that Australia is facing. It is hard for anyone to give a non-biased view. What stand should the church adopt? What does my conscience and my faith speak to me? Can I honestly say that as God's children we should provide refuge to anyone and everyone who wants to come? We all know it is impossible to throw the door wide open to all asylum seekers without the country falling apart.

We must recognize that asylum seekers will always be around. People all over the world hope to escape poverty or danger in search of a better life. The countries that are able to provide refuge have a moral responsibility towards all humanity, but it is impossible to throw the door wide open. Yet to keep it tightly shut will certainly attract criticisms at home or abroad.

Without joining the debate on asylum seekers, here's what I think the government should do. The US actually has a lottery system that we can emulate. While tightening the rules on asylum seekers to discourage illegal entry, the government can still give such people an avenue of hope by conducting a migration lottery every few years. Eligibility can be controlled by specifying how many people from which targeted countries will be accepted. That way, the country can adopt much harsher illegal entry policies without reproach.

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