Here's a quote from a BBC piece that triggered one of those protorants; the Australian cabinet just got overhaul, with the highlight (at least to the BBC) of immigration minister Philip Ruddock being promoted to AG-
Since 2000, he has become internationally notorious for implementing a policy of locking up asylum seekers in remote desert detention centres until their cases are decided.The Brown quote would make sense if these people were innocent. In most countries, immigration is a privilege, not a right, and people who come anyway in disregard of the rule are generally held to be in violation of the law until proven otherwise.
"I think he will be a very good attorney general and he will have a prominent role in the ongoing debate on national security," Mr Howard said.
Government critics disagreed.
"To have Mr Ruddock... who has incarcerated innocent people behind razor wire in conditions that would be unacceptable in most prisons in Australia, (moved) to chief law officer of the land is appalling," said Senator Bob Brown, leader of the Greens party.
Immigration law experts are free to disagree, but as far as I understand it, would-be asylum seekers are illegal until proven otherwise. They are guilty of irregularly entering the country. They can be declared not guilty if they can prove that they needed to break the rules in order to save their lives.
Some of the folks on the American left seem to have the same attitude about illegal immigrants, that these folks have done nothing working other than bend the rules in order to flee destitution. The bleeding-heart in me agrees, but the rest of my psyche reminds my softer side that if we have that attitude across the board that the borders become moot. However, if they are guilty, it is guilt of a small misdemeanor somewhere to the north of a speeding ticket. If you find them, send them back when possible, but remember that they are generally people just looking to make a living.
We need to look at making that flow of illegals legal where possible, where the domestic labor supply isn't enough to go around. Yes, we have labor surpluses (a.k.a. unemployment), but not in a lot of manual-labor positions that the average native-born American doesn't want to do. If a job is going unfilled, it would make more since to allow an immigrant to do the job, helping both the employer and the immigrant, and harming no one expect the guy who'd like to import the goods.
Protecting the borders is fine and good, but some of the people who are harshest on immigration policy look at immigrants with disdain as a lower class of human. They aren't. There's always a dilemma amongst the believers between justice and mercy. The illegal immigrant calls out for mercy, yet they broke the rules to get here, calling for a just expulsion. The bleeding-heart (here used as a complement, not a put-down, for I have that in me, too) leans to mercy and the legalist in us calls for justice.
You have to square that circle with great difficulty. Liberal-leaning believers will OD on mercy, forgetting that there is consequences of sins. Legalists will OD on justice, forgetting that we all are sinners saved by the grace of God. Our policy needs to have both. What does that mean for policy? I'm still working that out.