Australia Proposes Law To Allow Prison Sentences For High-Risk Migrants Who Violate Visa Conditions: Under emergency legislation introduced Thursday, migrants who violate their visa conditions in Australia will face up to five years in prison.
It is in response to a High Court ruling that foreigners with criminal records cannot be detained indefinitely.
Also, the Australian government said it had released 84 foreigners – most of whom have beliefs for crimes including rape and murder – since the court ruled the previous week that infinite detention of migrants is unconstitutional.
The High Court ruling from 2004, which allowed stateless individuals to be held indefinitely in migrant centers in situations where deportation was impossible, has been reversed.
Australia Proposes Law To Allow Prison Sentences For High-Risk Migrants Who Violate Visa Conditions
The Immigration Minister Andrew Giles introduced legislation in Parliament that would allow the government to order certain migrants to wear electronic tracking bracelets and comply with curfews.
Failure to concede with those visa conditions is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
Giles told Parliament that the released migrants include certain people with criminal histories.
Giles said that these measures are consistent with the legitimate purpose of community rights and the safety and interests of the public, especially vulnerable members.
Human rights lawyers argued that these measures could be challenged in court as punitive and excessive.
Any new conditions need to complete some basic tests. They must be reasonable, necessary, and proportionate. They must not be punitive or unnecessarily deprive individuals of their liberty, said David Manne, a lawyer representing many released migrants.
“We shouldn’t readily hand special powers to the government to impose severe rules on our lives without proper scrutiny. Given how urgently this has all been introduced, it’s hard to see how proper scrutiny has occurred,” Manne added.
The government has assured that the migrants have been released under strict visa conditions. Some of them have been required to report to the police daily.
However, Manne has revealed that some of his clients were initially released from detention centers without visas due to the government’s haste to comply with the court verdict.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives pushed the legislation, and the Senate will now consider it.
Peter Dutton, the opposite leader, whose conservative party could ensure that the Senate passes the center-left government’s measures, described the proposals as inadequate to ensure community safety.
Dutton said that these are people who have committed severe offenses, and the chance of them reoffending is very high.
The opposition senators are likely to propose their own modifications, and the little Greens party opposed what they described as “anti-refugee laws.
Sen. Nick Kim, the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, said in a statement that these are draconian rules that provide powers to ministers never before seen in Australia, and the Greens will not support them.
Giles mentioned that additional legislation would be evaluated once the High Court’s seven judges provide the rationale behind their verdict.
All the migrants who were released had their visas canceled or were refused visas due to their criminal records or other indications of poor character.
They were put into indefinite detention as they had no viable chance of being deported to a country that would receive them.
The test case identified in court as NZYQ, brought by a member of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, who was sentenced to raping a 10-year-old boy in Sydney and convicted to 5 years in prison. He was put in infinite detention after prison.
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