Australia's Urgent Bill Threatens Unlawful Non-Citizens with Jail for Refusing Deportation

Australia's Urgent Bill Threatens Unlawful Non-Citizens with Jail for Refusing Deportation

high court of ausralia,Australian immigration and asylum, Law (Australia), News, immigration

An urgent bill introduced by the Labor party in Australia has sparked controversy as it threatens hundreds of immigration detainees and unlawful non-citizens with a minimum of one year in prison if they refuse to cooperate with deportation efforts. The bill, introduced by the immigration minister, Andrew Giles, aims to compel non-citizens to facilitate their prompt and lawful removal, with criminal penalties for non-compliance.

The bill grants the immigration minister the power to direct non-citizens due for deportation to take specified actions necessary for their removal. Failure to comply without a reasonable excuse will result in a criminal offense carrying a mandatory minimum of 12 months in prison, a maximum of five years, a $93,900 fine, or both imprisonment and a fine. The government's move to limit debate and expedite the bill's passage has drawn criticism from the Greens and crossbench.

The bill's scope includes unlawful non-citizens, individuals without any visa, those in immigration detention, and those on bridging visas. It is expected to affect hundreds of people, including those challenging the legality of their detention. The bill also creates a power to designate a "removal concern country," imposing a bar on new visa applications from non-citizens in designated countries.

While the bill contains safeguards, such as not giving a direction if the non-citizen has applied for a protection visa, it has raised concerns about potential unintended consequences. The bill's explanatory memorandum emphasizes the necessity of the amendments to address non-citizens who have no valid reason to remain in Australia and are not cooperating with lawful efforts to remove them.

The bill's impact extends to individuals like ASF17, who has refused to meet Iranian authorities to obtain travel documents, leading to a legal case that could result in the release of over 170 people from detention. The bill's provisions have sparked debates about the government's approach to immigration detention and its implications for refugees and asylum seekers.

News Agencies

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