Thursday, February 22, 2018
Columnist Calls Out Australia for “Cruel” Immigration Policies; Readers Push Back

NEW YORK, NY Dec. 31 (DPI) – Roger Cohen, one of NYT’s more measured and respected columnists, yesterday fired off sharp criticism of Australia for its “indefensible policy of cruelty” toward refugees seeking haven there.

Turns out that the Australian government for years has intercepted immigrants seeking to flee war zones in the Middle East and Africa, and placed them in internment camps on a remote island in the Papua New Guinea archipelago. Over the last three years more than 2,000 people have been sent to this so-called “offshore processing.” Cohen, who is based in London and is not known for rhetorical excess, reported too that one of the detained young immigrants had died in custody.

Cohen wrote:

The conservative Australian government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull argues that its policy has “stopped the boats” at a time when more refugees are on the move across the world than at any time since 1945. The argument’s flaw is its inhumanity. Despite being a signatory of all major international human rights treaties, Australia has instituted an indefensible policy of cruelty as deterrence.

He closed his column with some moral clarity:

“Perhaps there is nothing more important to remember than the humanity in every individual — however poor, however desperate — and how easy it is to succumb to the perilous hysteria that reduces people to numbers as a prelude to their banishment or elimination.”

But readers, with surprising force and unanimity, challenged Cohen’s conclusions – with many basically replying that desperate times call for desperate measures. Though The Times allowed only 119 comments before closing the section, a large number of readers replied that the current global immigration crisis was out of hand, and while US was largely spared much its impact, Europe may never recover from it.

The most popular reader comments, in order:

The real problem The NY Times and Mr Cohen have with Australia’s immigration policies is that they work. Australia,unlike many western countries, is going to control its borders and who comes in. The vast majority of the migrants are passing thru several safe nations to get to western countries because of social welfare and economic factors. Australia has rightly concluded that they do not want to be the pressure relief valve for the tidal wave of people who are looking for better economic situations. Africa alone, now produces a minimum net gain of at least 30 million extra people a year. The continent cannot support anywhere near its present population. Should the west be required to take all these people in? When will it end? When the rest of the world has sunk to a level of poverty, hopelessness and despair that typifies these incredibly over populated counties? We must help these people solve their problems at home. It’s starts with birth control, a rejection of tribalism and the ignorance of fundamental religion and realizing that the west will not, and cannot take all of them in. Anything else just dooms the west to the same conditions that have made the Home Countries of the migrants so unlivable.

This individual story is tragic, but it is a diversion from some hard truths: These refugees crossed through other suitable areas in which to settle, they chose Australia so are we allowing refugees the luxury to shop around? Australia is a sovereign nation and can do what it wants and admit who it wants. Other nations, particularly wealthy Asian and Middle Eastern Countries need to step up. Israel, South Korea, Japan, China UAE and Saudi Arabia have the resources to absorb mass immigrants. Where are the editorials and complaints about them not doing their part from Mr. Cohen? I recall Israel pushing out Africans refugees in recent years. This is a global problem and needs a global response. One part of the world cannot be a lifeboat for the other 3 quarters. Sorry, the west will be swamped.

Maybe Australia has realistic immigration laws and is simply enforcing those laws. Maybe they don’t want to wind up with 11 million or so illegal immigrants like the U.S. which seems incapable of passing laws of any nature.

Africa and the Middle East have over 400 million poor people who would love to move to Australia if Roger Cohen can convince the Australian public and politicians to open their borders. This is only the current population — the African and Middle Eastern population growth rates mean that there will be 100 millions more within coming decades. If Roger Cohen gets his way, Australia will become indistinguishable from Africa and the Middle East in terms of population structure and level of economic development.



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