Monday, July 21, 2008

Immigration Bill: not looking good

The Immigration Bill was reported back from select committee today. Unfortunately, it hasn't yet appeared on the parliamentary website, but from Keith Locke's comments, it doesn't sound good:

"Too many decisions will be made on information kept secret from those affected," Mr Locke, the Green Party's Immigration Spokesperson says.

"Fourteen state agencies, from the Department of Corrections to the Ministry of Fisheries, will now be able to define information as 'classified' and not to be seen by the affected person.

"While summaries of secret allegations will generally be available, the agency producing them will be tempted to leave out anything which doesn't favour its own case.

"Special Advocates can be appointed but will be of limited usefulness to the affected people. They are not even trusted to talk to those they are advocating for, after they have seen any classified information.

And as if that's not bad enough, the committee has also moved to plug the "loophole" which has seen immigration detainees released from indefinite detention, by inserting an amendment that the length of detention cannot be considered a "special circumstance" in a bail application. Which means that when the government locks you up forever, you stay locked up forever, with none of this messy judicial oversight. Just like Guantanamo Bay...

This bill has to be defeated. You can start by signing the petition here.