Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Malaysian transfer plan sinks as High Court of Australia hands down a preventive injunction

THE Federal Government will make a desperate bid to fast track a High Court challenge to its botched asylum seeker swap deal as the Malaysian solution languishes in legal limbo.

The Gillard Government was last night scrambling to defend its immigration policy after the High Court threatened to shred its legal credibility.

A two-week injunction imposed yesterday will prevent the deportation of the first wave of asylum seekers to Kuala Lumpur until the High Court can consider the policy's legality.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen last night said he was confident of the Government's legal footing despite judge Kenneth Hayne earlier ruling the policy posed a "sufficiently serious question" warranting the scrutiny of the full bench on August 22.

The legal questions surround the human rights and lack of legal protection for the Malaysian-bound asylum seekers and the deportation of unaccompanied minors.

The Government was last night battling to contain the political fallout as up to 100 asylum seekers remain in legal limbo on Christmas Island.

Adding to the embarrassment, Justice Hayne complained about the Solicitor-General's tardiness in presenting legal documents, describing the Crown's response as "half-baked".

Mr Bowen said the Government was on "very strong legal grounds".

"I'm confident that when the full bench considers the case the injunction will be lifted, the transfer will occur and the arrangement will be implemented," he said. He admitted the uncertainty created by the High Court injunction had "the danger of playing into people smugglers' hands". "I think it would be better that the case was heard as soon as possible," he said.

Meanwhile, an ambulance was called yesterday to treat three Malaysian-bound asylum seekers on a hunger strike on Christmas Island.

Lawyers for the 41 Afghani and Pakistani asylum seekers behind the current legal challenge say their clients are "petrified" about being sent to Malaysia.

David Manne argues their claims for protection should be continued in Australia and disputed the Government's claim Malaysia had sufficient human rights and protections for refugees.

"We'll be challenging that because the consequences here, of course, are very grave," he told the ABC. "The minister could declare any country to have adequate human rights standards or protections without a review by the court."

Despite the uncertainty with the people-swap policy, Mr Bowen said Australia would accept the first of the 4000 refugees from Malaysia as part of the deal. "I'm not going to put these people's lives on hold."

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the High Court injunction showed the Government could not get its immigration policies right.


Mexican immigration to U.S. allegedly down to lowest level in years

Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed to a trickle, according to the Mexican government. Migration from Mexico peaked in 2006 or 2007, when roughly one percent of the population left the country each year. Today, the number is around one third of one percent per year, says Mexico.

From The Washington Post:
Mexico’s net outflow of migrants has fallen to “almost nothing,” as fewer migrants entered Mexico, but the number leaving dropped even faster, the government’s statistical unit said Monday.

A report by the National Statistics Institute says Mexico lost about 0.09 percent of its population to migration as reflected in quarterly surveys carried out between March 2010 and March 2011.

That was 83 percent lower than the outflow of 0.53 percent of the population in 2006 and early 2007, near the end of Mexico’s migration boom.

“In the first quarter of 2011, there was practically no net loss of population due to international migration,” the institute said. “As a result, in relative terms the net migration balance was almost nothing.”

About 0.38 percent of the country’s 112.7 million people migrated abroad in the most recent period studied, while about 0.29 percent immigrated to Mexico.

Newsweek reported more than a year ago that immigration from Mexico to the U.S. was falling fast due to changing demographics in Mexico as well as an economic situation in Mexico that was enabling more people to find work. The magazine predicted that it will not be long before the United States is crafting policies to increase immigration to the country.

Dee Dee Garcia Blase, executive director of Somos Republicans, a national organization representing Latino Republicans, told The Colorado Independent that the change has a lot to do with the relative economic strengths of Mexico and the U.S.
“The economic situation of both Mexico and the United States has much to do with Mexico’s outflow falling to ‘almost nothing,’” she said.

“According to Bloomberg, the Mexican economy expanded 5.5% in 2010 which was the most in 10 years, whereas, the 2010 GDP of the U.S. was at 2.8%. GDP growth for Mexico is expected to reach 4.5% for 2011.

“U.S. baby boomers are choosing to retire in Mexico because the cost of living is less and medication/health care is less expensive.

“The protectionist laws implemented by restrictionist GOP legislators are having a direct negative impact"


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