Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

AC­CORD­ING to the Red Cross, there are 18 mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers in the world. Peo­ple ripped from their home­lands, sep­a­rated from fam­ily and depend­ing on the kind­ness of strangers for food and shel­ter. Most of them live in squalid camps in Third World coun­ties with not enough food and wa­ter. The Asy­lum Seeker Re­source Cen­tre says Aus­tralia has 5000 peo­ple in de­ten­tion cen­tres and 28,000 liv­ing in the com­mu­nity on bridg­ing visas. A tiny per­cent­age of the over­all fig­ures. A sur­vey of 1000 Aus­tralians by the Red Cross showed 70 per cent of re­spon­dents be­lieved it was illegal to come by boat with­out a visa and seek refuge in this coun­try. They are wrong. It is not illegal to cross borders with­out doc­u­ments, if you are run­ning from per­se­cu­tion or war. Even in Aus­tralia, refugees face hard­ship and have lim­ited sup­port. We can af­ford to be gen­er­ous to peo­ple who gen­uinely need our pro­tec­tion.

Rick Lee - Editor

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