What is the Western world doing about the unending immigration, illegal and legal, into its territories? This weblog entry provides an occasional look at cutting-edge measures to cope with the problem.
"Illegals to be held on prison hulk": The Australian acquired tender documents issued by the Australian Customs Service to build an armed, purpose-built prison ship to hold illegal asylum-seekers (and fishermen) intercepted in national waters for up to a month. Worried that patrol vessels must make long voyages returning to port after intercepting each illegal boat, customs seeks to lease a civilian vessel to serve as a floating detention centre. The ship will be leased for A$10 million a year. The specifications are of interest:
the ship will have a 30-berth detention centre, quarantine zone, isolation area and exercise deck, separated from other areas of the ship. The documents state that the ship must be able to cater for a full crew, 30 government officials and 30 detainees "for a minimum of 30 days. … The vessel will need to be capable of being modified to fit and operate locally controlled (manually operated) deck-mounted weapons, such as 12.7mm machineguns. These weapons must be able to be mounted in such a position as to afford the maximum possible arcs of fire from either side of the vessel. The vessel must have a capacity to hold up to 30 apprehended illegal foreign fishers on board, in a secure area, under the control of armed Australian government officials."
Up to 30 officials will be carried aboard the vessel and the tender requires a variety of berths from private cabins to six-bed berths, but all with en suite bathrooms. Under desirable requirements, the tender lists a fitness area "with gym equipment to cater for up to 30 embarked personnel". Customs wants the vessel to have separate meeting, briefing and interview facilities for the exclusive use of government officials, as well as a two-bed medical bay and an operating theatre.
(August 3, 2006)
"Illegal migrants ‘dumped on city streets' in Spain": Here's a bright idea that the far-left government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has devised: Put the illegal immigrants into parts of the country where conservatives predominate. Illegals who have no documents – and why would any of them bother to keep documents? – cannot be deported or even processed, so they end up being let go.
Under Spanish law, after an initial 40 days in detention, migrants who cannot be deported are released inside Spain with a piece of paper telling them to leave the country. Most choose to ignore that request and instead become trapped in legal limbo, unable to gain work papers and unwilling to return home. But as the numbers arriving on Spanish city streets in this way have grown in recent weeks, the local communities have begun to protest.
The conservative Popular Party opposition said a disproportionate number of immigrants was sent to regions it governs, while Catalonia's socialist government claimed last week that the interior ministry had flown an aircraft full of illegal immigrants into Barcelona with no prior warning. Although most are offered assistance by non governmental organisations on arrival, the government has been accused of "dumping" them in cities without informing local authorities. … "Immigrants without papers are freely moving around Spain and it is creating a problem on an incalculable scale," said Miguel Arias Canete, the Popular Party's economic spokesman. He estimated that 11,000 immigrants have been scattered throughout Spain so far this year, three times last year's figure.
The interior ministry declined to reveal how many immigrants had been transferred to the mainland this year, but it denied targeting Popular Party areas.
Comment: I was in Spain last month and heard outrage about the government penalizing conservatives by foisting the illegal immigrants on them in this way. (August 28, 2006)