Friday, October 22, 2010

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010

The Government has published the revised wording of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2010. The original wording was withdrawn earlier in the year following hundreds of wrecking-amendments in Committee by the Opposition (especially Labour with its absurd demand that illegal immigrants who claim to have been trafficked should be allowed a 6-month visa automatically even if they refuse to cooperate in prosecutions of traffickers). The bill would:

- Remove the requirement to give failed asylum-seekers 14 days to appeal their deportation-orders, by repealing section 3 of the Immigration-Act 1999. This is necessary because 6,000 failed asylum-seekers have gone on the run to evade deportation and more would follow unless notice of date of deportation is abolished.

- Requires immigrants to enter via "approved ports" and present themselves to an Immigration-Officer. This could reduce the incentive to enter via NI, from where 90% of our asylum-seekers enter the state (according to the govt).

- Require the presentation of travel-documents at the frontiers of the State except for Irish/UK nationals.[quote]26.—(1) A person (other than a national of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who has travelled directly from Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man or an Irish citizen) arriving or attempting to arrive from outside the State or entering or attempting to enter the State shall be in possession of a valid travel document.

"(2) A person (including an Irish citizen) arriving or attempting to arrive from outside the State or entering or attempting to enter the State shall—

(a) comply with such reasonable instructions as an immigration officer may give for those purposes, and

(b) furnish to an immigration officer such information in such manner as the immigration officer may reasonably require for the purposes of the performance of his or her functions, and where the immigration officer requires a person other than a foreign national to provide biometric information—

(i) the biometric information need only be furnished to the extent necessary to enable the immigration officer to compare it with any biometric information in a travel document furnished by the person, to establish that that travel document relates to him or her and to establish the validity of that travel document, and

(ii) the biometric information is not otherwise authorised to be retained, stored or compared to any other biometric information.

(3) A person who contravenes this section is guilty of an offence.

(4) For the purposes of this Part, a person coming from outside the State who arrives at any place in the State shall be deemed to have arrived at a frontier of the State.

.—(1) A person (other than a person to whom a waiver has been granted under section 24(4), a national of the United Kingdom ."

- introduces new offences (Section 149) of knowingly facilitating the entry of illegal-immigrants into the State.

This is a welcome and much overdue piece of legislation and it is imperative that on this occasion, the Government govern instead of pandering to an Opposition without (in 2010) a mandate to govern. Cosy-consensus is harmful to the democratic-process because it allows a minority to dictate to a majority. It is imperative that on this occasion, the Government pass the Bill. Write to Brian Cowen, Dermot Ahern and John Gormley to push for its enactment this year. In a recession charity must begin at home. We cannot afford the annual asylum-bill of €300 million, wasted on property-moguls and free legal-aid. We must send a message that another PAMA-style asylum-scam will not be tolerated still less rewarded.

As ever, the dogooders in the Immigrant Council of Ireland are not to be outdone in the bleeding-heart stakes:

" ...Council chief executive Denise Charlton said the redrafted Bill would perpetuate an immigration system that was unfair, inefficient and costly. She said the introduction of “summary deportation” would enable the State to remove people without appeal and could lead to serious injustices.

Under the current system, people have 15 days to appeal a deportation order. She said the legislation made no allowance for people in exceptional circumstances in relation to summary deportation, whereby lawfully resident migrants – or even vulnerable Irish people suffering from mental health problems – could be removed from the country without a right of appeal.

“The council is deeply concerned that the introduction of summary deportations could even result in the deportation of vulnerable Irish citizens or lawfully resident migrants who are unable to prove they have a legal right to be in Ireland,” said Ms Charlton.

She said the provisions in the redrafted Bill on summary deportation run contrary to recent Supreme Court decisions and a recommendation from the UN human rights committee."

This organisation also campaigned vociferously against the Citizenship Referendum in 2004 and as such lacks credibility as a barometer of public-opinion. Those considering voting Labour for the first time would do well to take note of Michael D's opposition to the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill's introduction of summary-deportations for failed asylum-seekers. It underlines once more what a disaster a Labour Justice/Immigration Minister would be for Irish immigration-policy and the control of our borders. Do-gooders like the Migrant Rights Centre insist on keeping the discredited 14 days to appeal deportation, in spite of the fact that this has led 6,000 failed asylum-seekers going on the run:

"...Siobhán O’Donoghue of the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland said the new Bill in its current form would end up a bonanza for lawyers and cost taxpayers money needlessly by provoking court challenges.
“Even a criminal facing extradition gets 14 days to make an appeal whereas this Bill removes this right for people who have committed no crime,” she said.
Labour TD Michael D Higgins said summary deportation broke basic human rights. He said the new version of the Bill was a step backwards when compared with a previous version of the Bill, which TDs spent hundreds of hours poring over in the Oireachtas...

We can't trust Labour on immigration. The new FG Justice Spokesman also continues to manifest a bleeding-heart approach to the issue:

"Fine Gael justice spokesman Alan Shatter said the Bill failed to adequately address the human rights of immigrants and their families and the rights of Irish citizens to a full family life in circumstances in which their spouse was neither a citizen of the State nor of any other EU country.
Labour’s Pat Rabbitte said that, within certain conditions, his party would seek to amend the Bill to address the central issue of the right of family reunification.

Granting "family-reunification" would have the consequence of doubling, tripling or quadrupling the number of immigrants relative to the numbers already claiming asylum. This is grossly unfair to the 450,000 unemployed. If provision is made for family-reunification, they ought to include paternity-tests and - where adoption is claimed - verifiable certification of adoption. The claims by anti-deportation campaigners and the Opposition parties that the Bill would mean "summary-deportation" is ludicrous in the context of one of the most generous asylum-appeals systems in Europe. As explained by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern in the Dail on 06/10/10:

"The Bill effects a radical restructuring of the State’s asylum determination processes. It has been apparent for some time that the principal question that most protection claimants want answered is not “Will you recognise me as a refugee?” but “Can I stay?”. That question is currently answered in a multi-stage process whereby the first aspect examined, by the independent Refugee Applications Commissioner, is whether the applicant is a refugee. Most negative determinations of that aspect are appealed to the independent Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Following a negative determination on appeal, there is a lengthy process whereby the Minister must determine whether the person is eligible for subsidiary protection and if there are other reasons why the person should be let stay. This sequential process is cumbersome, ineffective and inefficient and causes inevitable delays in the final decision; and delay itself can affect what the final decision is to be."

That is why the IRP will require asylum seekers to give all their reasons for applying for asylum at the beginning of the process rather than later on:

"The Bill introduces a single procedure wherein the protection applicant will be required to set out all of the grounds, including protection grounds under the Geneva Convention and the EU asylum qualification directive on which he or she wishes to remain in the State. Those grounds will be investigated by the Minister and the outcome of the investigation could be that the person is either allowed to remain in the State on refugee grounds or subsidiary protection grounds and is granted a protection declaration or is not granted protection but allowed to remain in the State on other discretionary grounds and is granted a residence permit on that basis, or is not allowed to remain in the State and is thus required to leave or be removed.
The introduction of the single procedure will bring the State into line with processes in many other European states. Under the Bill, the functions currently carried out by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner will be subsumed into the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, INIS, the administrative agency of my Department. The present statutory provisions for UNHCR to have access to information about cases and to be present if it wishes at individual interviews are restated, and it is my intention to continue the co-operation that has existed with UNHCR, in particular in regard to that body’s signal contribution so far to training of staff in the refugee decision-making process. The UNHCR has stated at many meetings with me that it wishes to see the expeditious passage of this Bill.

A question for the ICI, FG, the Labour Party etc.: how can the bill be racist if it has the support of the UNHCR? More from the Dail debate on the Bill can be found here.


Monday, October 18, 2010

EU clampdown on immigration-debate

In another case of the erosion of democracy in Europe, the PASDE (Party of Socialists and Democrats in Europe) - the second largest party in the European Parliament - has demanded so-called 'Far Right' parties be excluded from cooperation, coalition or 'implicit support' by all other political parties. This flies in the face of democracy and the right of Europeans to self-determination. It also reflects the Left's frustration at their rejection by European citizens as millions of Europeans reject their open-door attitudes to immigration and the failed ideology of multiculturalism.

"Throwing down the gauntlet to Europe's conservative and liberal parties, some of which have in recent years become less reticent to join coalitions or alliances with nationalist and populist parties, the continent's Socialists have called for a 'cordon sanitaire' around the far-right by the mainstream. The leadership of the Party of European Socialists, the pan-European political party that brings together all European social democratic outfits, on Friday (15 October) adopted new five-point code of conduct on how to act around extreme right parties, which have seen a sharp rise in support in many countries in the wake of the economic crisis. "Regarding this threat ... all European parties should sign up to our plan to refuse to work with the extreme-right," the party's president and former Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. Specifically, the party is calling on mainstream left, right and centre parties to reject any ruling coalitions, electoral alliances or any "implicit support" with far-right parties and to isolate members who break the cordon sanitaire. In the Netherlands, the new minority government of the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the centre-right Christian Democrats enjoys backing from the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant Freedom Party that in the Netherlands in a similar formulation to the parliamentary support the nationalist Danish People's Party provides to the governing minority of the Conservative People's Party and centrist Venstre. Europe's centre-right, the European People's Party, is currently considering how to react to the call.

"Unfortunately we have seen some mixed signals in recent months," Mr Rasmussen said of the new Dutch coalition's dependence on the far right. Earlier this month, the PES condemned the centre-right's silence over the development, with the group's general secretary, Philip Cordery, accusing the EPP of "power whatever the cost." "The European People's Party's reaction to the new Dutch government has shown the true intellectual weakness of the Conservatives in Europe," he said on 4 October in the wake of the Dutch parliamentary pact. The PES also criticised Wilfred Martens, the president of the EPP, for saying that his party would not work with the far right at the European level while leaving the door open for member parties to do so nationally. EUobserver was unable to reach Europe's liberals in the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party for their reaction to the call.

But on Thursday, the group's president, Belgian MEP Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck issued her concern at the new Dutch government while not condemning the move. "What worries me is that this government is depending on the support of a radical right party, to put it mildly. I hope this is not going to push it in a direction I would not like it to go," she told EUobserver. Socialists themselves have in parts of Europe been known to embrace the far right in order to cobble together a parliamentary majority. In 2006, the Slovak centre-left, Smer, entered into a coalition with the nationalist Slovak National Party (SNS) and as a result was suspended from membership of the PES and only readmitted in 2008. The PES also called on all parties to not "take up [the extreme right's] ideas into its political principles or policies." On Monday, the governor of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, said Germany should end immigration from Turkey and Arab countries because citizens of these lands allegedly do not "integrate" into German society as well as others. "It's clear that immigrants from other cultures such as Turkey and Arabic countries have more difficulties. From that I draw the conclusion that we don't need additional immigration from other cultures," Mr Seehofer, of the Christian Social Union, the more conservative sister party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told Focus magazine. The comments, condemned as "shocking" by Ms Merkel's integration commissioner, Maria Böhmer, come after Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin claimed in a book published in August that German Muslim immigrants were not integrating, that they were less intelligent and that they use more social services than other citizens.

Mr Sarrazin, a member of Germany's centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) also said that with their high birth rate, they threatened to overwhelm the ‘native' German population within a few generations. The SPD has since announced it is considering revoking Mr Sarrazin's party membership. According to the Berliner Morgenposten, some 18 percent of Germans would vote for his party if he started one. The country so far has been one of the few European states not to witness a sharp growth in support for far-right parties".

PASDE's demands represent a gross insult to the millions of voters of immigration-control parties and the denial of their rights to political-representation. It also represents a brazen attempt at censorship and interference in the internal-affairs of member states. The Left can't handle rejection and consequently, are lashing out at their opponents. These demands also recall the failed diplomatic-sanctions against Austria in 2000 after the entry of the Freedom Party into a Coalition-government with the People's Party. The consequence of those sanctions was to increase Euroscepticism in Austria and support for the new government. The ball is now in the Centre-Right EPP and ALDE's court. They should reject the PES demands for a "cordon-sanitaire" around so-called 'Far Right parties'. In any case, the term is in the eye of the beholder. For example, how can:

- A party that is pro gay-marriage and pro-Israel. (Dutch Freedom Party).
- A party that supports a cradle to grave welfare state (Danish People's Party) and the repeal of blasphemy-laws, and is pro-Israel.

Be "Far Right" organisations? My point on them being pro-Israel is to demonstrate that it proves they are not anti-semitic - which removes one element in traditional fascism and so-called 'Far Right' ideology. (I am a staunch critic of Israel and opponent of anti-semitism but my point is that being staunchly pro-Israel and anti-semitism are hardly compatible). Clearly this farce is an arbitrary ploy by the Left to seize power by denying Coalition partners to their Conservative and Libertarian opponents by depriving them of their democratic-rights to represent their supporters in government if necessary. Write to Irish MEPs to demand they oppose this measure.
These outbursts have to be seen in the context of the rejection of the Left in:

- The Swedish General Election on 19th September 2010 in which the Sweden Democrats entered Parliament for the first time. The Social Democrats had their worst showing since 1914 at just over 30%.
- The Viennese local elections on 11th October where the Social Democrats lost their overall majority (falling from 49% to 44%) and the Freedom Party gained 28% of the vote and more than doubled their seats from 13 to 28.
- The victory of the CDU-FPD Coalition in German on 27th September 2009 where the SPD fell from 34% to 23% - its worst losses in its history.
- The fall of the UK Labour Government in the British General Election on 6th May 2010, following the 'Bigotgate' affair where Brown was recorded calling an elderly lady concerned about immigration a "bigoted old woman".