People Smuggling in Australia Essay Example

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People Smuggling in Australia 10

People Smuggling in Australia

Introduction

Australia has for along time faced problems with its borders. It is believed that controlling the borders has not been an easy task for Australian government. The task of controlling the borders has been challenging due to globalization and enhanced cross-border flow of finance, trade and movement of persons. It is because of these challenges that the level of transnational crime has increased. Transnational crime such as unlawful movement of drugs, persons and arms is currently a major problem in Australia. It is estimated that approximately four million individuals are smuggled yearly across global borders. In Australia alone, thousands of individuals are believed to be smuggled yearly across its borders. Therefore, smuggling of people is believed to be a major problem in Australia and not adequately policed. This paper seeks to evaluate this allegation in the context of other border protection concerns.

It can be argued that people smuggling is a problem in Australia that has not adequately been policed and has therefore lead to an increased level of illegal immigrants into the country. The problem has been spearheaded by the aspect of refugee movement as a border control issue. Smuggling of people inform of refugees is an international criminal enterprise approximated by international organization for Migration (IOM) to be worth $US 10 billion every year. It is approximated that four million individuals are illegally moved across international borders every year (McInerny, 2012). The enhanced number of these illegal immigrants has resulted to the development of various policy regarding refugees to be transformed. However transformation of policy regarding refugees has not eliminated the people smuggling problem in Australia.

It is believed that the policy regarding refugees has changed in the sense that those entering the country by boat or other means minus official classification as refugees are not given refugee status upon arrival. Majority of these asylum seekers are chased away because of removal of some areas of Australia from official migration region. The areas include Christmas Island, Manus Island, Cocos Islands, Ashmore, Nuru and Cartier Islands. Immigrants landing outside the migration region have been relocated to offshore processing centers where their allegations for refuge are evaluated. With all these changes in Australia borders, the number of people being smuggled into the country is still rampant.

People smuggling is a major problem in Australia since majority of the individuals involved in the illegal act are not Australian’s nationals. It is believed that majority of people smugglers come from Asian countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. Being a foreigner has made it hard for Australian government to track and arrest individuals who facilitate people smuggling. It has also been noted that people smuggling is not only facilitated by individuals situated outside Australia, but also by business enterprises situated within Australia. More than Six stores in Australia are believed to facilitate illegal money transfers to Asia. These stores funds people smugglers in Asia so as to put relatives of Australia nationals on asylum-seekers boats. This kind of money transfer is usually hard to track and in case of smuggling of people, it is even harder to proof that the transfer was for unlawful acts (Stewart & Maley, 2012). The Australian customs and immigration offices have not been upgraded to counteract this kind of illegal activity thus making it hard to track and arrest people smugglers and business enterprises facilitating the activity.

As a cross border concern, incompetency among custom officers in Australia has enhanced Smuggling of people. It is believed that majority of custom officers in Australia borders are incompetent and discriminately arraign in courts individuals that are suspected of people smuggling. According to The University of Queensland (2012), majority of individuals charged with offences of smuggling in Australia are captains and crew members arrested on the suspected illegal entry vessels. The major criminals who swiftly coordinate and finance the illegal activity are neither investigated nor arrested for the offence of smuggling people.

The Australian custom agency is not proficient enough to identify and investigate individuals organizing the cross border trade of persons. The agency has rarely been capable of arresting, charging, convicting and if possible extraditing migrant smugglers who directs and organize the smuggling activity. It is believed that between September 1, 2008 and February 22, 2012 five convictions of those organizing people smuggling were made as compared to two hundred and twenty eight convictions of maritime people smuggling crew. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) announced on 5th June 2012, that the Australian federal police (AFP) have arrested five hundred and forty four suspected crewmembers of which two hundred and forty five have been sentenced. In the same period, out off fourteen organizers arrested, only five organizers were sentenced (UoQ, 2012).

The Australia border issues have highly been politicized. Even though border securitization has highly been upgraded, the surveillance and policing of the Australian border has been politicized, thus creating more loop holes for smuggling of people. It has been noted that the number of displaced individuals crossing the borders of Australia is much less than those crossing the US and EU borders. However, different from the US and EU borders, the Australia borders are linked with strong political influence. Australia has a history of invasion anxiety brought about by racist narratives that display Australia as being overrun by Asians from the north. These xenophobic allegations have intensified contemporary politicization of border control. The politicization of border control has caused some politicians who are against the allegations to collude with people smugglers. The politicians use their political muscles to create loopholes for smuggling people across Australian borders (Wilson, & Weber, 2008).

On the other hand, when critically examining the problem of people smuggling it can be stated that adequate policies have been devised in order to deal with the problem. For instance in order to deal with the problem of refugee movement as one of the Australian border issues, the government has devised a good number of both internal and external polices that can work towards reducing the influx of refugees into the country. A study conducted by Tarcisius, (2005) to examine the contribution of the Australian foreign policy and the intervention in Solomon’s Island , revealed that this particular policy has been useful in reducing the number of people being smuggled from Solomon’s Island into Australia as refugees. Tarcisius, (2005) highlights that in June 2003, the Australian government decided to adopt a regional intervention policy that would work towards subduing the civil arrests that goes on in Solomon’s since the late 1998. The civil arrest in the Island greatly influenced the migration of residents of the Island into Australia as refuges. Through the intervention policy on the Island, the Australian government was able to deploy an Australian –led regional Assistant Mission to the Island (RASMI). Tarcisius, (2005) highlights that; the mission has been very significant in bringing about peace and also rebuilding the Island. Consequently, through this particular policy smuggling of people from Solomon’s Island in the form of refuges into Australia has reduced. This is because with the existence of peace in the region, the people of the Island do not have to move from their homes due to civil arrest, and therefore this has made it a lesser problem for the Australian government.

The existence of the Migration Act 1958 can be described as an effective legal approach that has been useful in solving the problem of people smuggling in Australia. A major border control issue is the fact that the existing border control laws are not effective, however the existence of the Migration Act since 1958, has been effective in dealing with the problem of people smuggling. The provision of the Migration Act is that in a scenario where a person is convicted of the offence against section 233B, the court is to impose an imprisonment sentence of a minimum of 8 years. In case the person repeats the offence then an additional 5 years is added on the sentence. The Migration Act 1958 has been applied for a long period of time whereby it has acted as an effective approach of prosecuting people that are involved in people smuggling (Price and Wyer, 2011). The minster of Home affairs Brendan O’Connor in 2012 acknowledged the fact that the purpose of the Bill is not to affect the rights of people that seek asylum in the country but rather the purpose of the bill is to offer clarity concerning laws that deal with organized criminal groups that deal with people smuggling. The existence of the Migration Act basically implies the Australian parliament and also government does not tolerate the smuggling of people into the country (Price and Wyer, 2011).

The migration Acts has also recently been amended in a manner that will enhance the reduction of people smuggling into Australia. The Migration Act now extends a jurisdiction to the Australian Customs service to have increased powers for watching our costal regions. The increased powers will enable the agency to undertake a variety of actions that ensure that people are not smuggled into the country. Graycar and Tailby (2000) highlights that the Australian Customs service can now detain vessels even in international waters if the vessel was implicated or is suspected of breaching Australian regulations such as carrying people who are to be smuggled into the country. Furthermore, the Australian Customs service has also power to search, detain and question people who have aborted vessels that are suspected to have breached the immigration regulations (Graycar and Tailby, 2000). What is evident is that through such policy changes, the problem of people smuggling will and has definitely been effectively dealt with.

The Australian border control policy has also been an adequate policy measure that has been devised to deal with the problem of people smuggling. The border control policy can be argued to have resolved the border control issue of having effective legislations that can protect the Australian boundaries from entry of illegal people. One of the significant objectives of the Australian border control policy is to facilitate the deterrence migrants that enter Australia unlawfully. These are people who enter the country without a visa or people whose visas have expired and yet they continue to stay in the country. The policy also works towards deporting people who are considered as unlawful immigrants except if they have been received into the country as refugees (Crock& Azadeh, 2006). Crock and Azadeh (2006) argue that the policy has been very useful to law enforcement agencies in combating the problem of people smuggling. For instance since the year 1994, the federal police have been able to arrest unlawful immigrants who have entered Australia in order to seek Asylum and yet they do not have visas or they have overstayed their visa. Such people have had undergo mandatory detention, while investigations continue on whether they should remain in the country or be deported.

In general although the problem people smuggling still exists in Australia, it can be argued that polices do exist that work towards dealing with this particular problem and also resolving the other border control issues that influence people smuggling .

Conclusion

It can be argued that people smuggling is a problem in Australia that has not adequately been policed and has therefore lead to an increased level of illegal immigrants into the country. The problem has been spearheaded by the aspect of refugee movement as a border control issue. Smuggling of people inform of refugees is an international criminal enterprise approximated by international organization for Migration (IOM) to be worth $US 10 billion every year. People smuggling is a major problem in Australia since majority of the individuals involving in illegal act are not Australian’s nationals. It is believed that majority of people smugglers come from Asian countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. As a cross border concern, incompetency among custom officers in Australia has enhanced Smuggling of people. On the other hand, when critically examining the problem of people smuggling it can be stated that adequate policies have been devised in order to deal with the problem. The existence of the Migration Act 1958 can be described as an effective legal approach that has been useful in solving the problem of people smuggling in Australia. The Australian border control policy has also been an adequate policy measure that has been devised to deal with the problem of people smuggling.

References

Crock, B & Azadeh, D. (2006). Future Seekers II: Refugees and Irregular Migration in Australia. Sage.

Graycar, A & Tailby, R. (2000).People Smuggling, National Security Implication. Australian Institute of Criminology.

McInerny, T. (2012). People smuggling — an inhuman trade. <http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/publications/platypus/previous-editions/2000/september-2000/1psmugl.aspx>.

Stewart, C. & Maley, P. (2012). Sydney cluster in frame for people smuggling. <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/sydney-cluster-in-frame-for-people-smuggling/story-fn9hm1gu-1226443406762>

Price, E and Wyer, M. (2011). Understanding the complexity of people smuggling. Submission to the Senate Legal and constitutional affairs.

Tarcisius, K. (2005).Australian Foreign Policy and the RAMSI Intervention in Solomon Islands. Contemporary Pacific Journal. 17(2): pp. 283-308.

The University of Queensland (UoQ). (2012). Migrant Smugglers: Profiles and Prosecutions. <http://www.law.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=184144>

Wilson, D. & Weber, L. (2008).Surveillance, Risk and Preemption on the Australian Border: The Australian Border. Surveillance & Society 5(2): 124-141