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In calling on the Australian bishops to oppose Australian immigration policy (October AD2000), Mary Daly would appear to be applying misplaced compassion. Compassion is a commendable virtue but, as the end does not justify the means, it is morally wrong to use it in a way that inflicts grave injustices on others.
The illegal immigrants have not come directly from their homelands and have, therefore, been accepted in other countries. If they wish to come to Australia they should apply through the proper channels and not use their financial resources to "queue-jump". Every illegal immigrant who is finally accepted into Australia replaces a genuine applicant waiting in squalor in some overseas refugee camp. Is this not a grave injustice? Where is the compassion for these poor souls?
Every illegal immigrant family that arrives on our shores does so by knowingly and willingly entering into an unlawful arrangement with those criminals known as people-smugglers. Is it the function of Australian bishops to encourage this evil trade in human flesh?
For security and health reasons, the Australian Government has not only the right, but a serious obligation, to intern these people until they are properly processed. Many would argue that it is being over-generous in its treatment of them. The internees are well fed and housed and receive free medical care and other services unaffordable to many taxpayers bearing the cost of their support. This cost can only be met by curtailing the social security benefits of others or by increasing taxes, the bulk of which are paid by ordinary battling Australians. Do I hear any cries of compassion for them?
My above remarks, of course, have been directed to adult male illegal immigrants. I do feel sorry for the women and children who have no say in family decisions. It is a tragedy that the male leaders can so easily lead their families to disaster. On the other hand, who would want to assume responsibility for breaking-up families?
Surely, recent overseas events should alert us to being more vigilant than ever in assessing applicants for Australian residency.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 10 (November 2001), p. 13
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