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Punish smugglers not immigrants, archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2011 p 8 June 26, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Immigration.
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Archbishop Phillip Aspinall

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia has urged a rethink of his country’s illegal alien policies—urging the government to show greater compassion to asylum seekers while cracking down on people smugglers.

“It cannot be morally permissible to inflict suffering on asylum seekers in order to stop people smuggling,” Dr Phillip Aspinall told the Brisbane Synod on June 18.  “That cannot be the correct approach.”

He urged a rethink of current government policies.  While he supported screening would be immigrants in their country of origin, once they arrived in Australia—by whatever means—they should be treated humanely.

Australian must treat “with compassion the people who arrive on our shores in line with human decency and our international obligations,” the archbishop said, but the government should also be aggressive in “undermining the corrosive business of people smuggling.”

“That might involve putting more effort and resources in processing asylum seekers properly in overseas countries before they get into the hands of people smugglers in the first place,” he said.

However, the long term solution to Australia’s illegal immigrant problem lay in building up the economies and political institutions of the migrants’ home countries.

“If we invested time and energy and people and thought into helping those refugees and asylum seekers in the places they’re fleeing from, I think that would be an investment that would pay returns,” Dr. Aspinall said.

Immigration is a contentious issue in Australia, with the leading political parties divided over who should be allowed to enter the country and in what numbers.

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