Australia’s immigration policy is clear and simple: “No way. You will not make Australia home.”
Australia’s current immigration policy was forged in 2001 by former Prime Minister John Howard. Howard refused to let 438 Afghan refugees — now stranded on Christmas Island after their 20-meter wooden boat sunk in international waters — enter Australian waters. His move to severely limit and halt illegal immigration is now embedded in the national consciousness: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.”
The anti-illegal immigration message was was actually broadcasted on YouTube in 2014 as part of a AU$20 million ($15.4 million) advertising blitz by Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Illegal maritime arrivals who are caught trying to reach the country without a visa don’t set foot on Australian soil. Instead, they’re brought to one of two “regional processing centers” at the Republic of Nauru or on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
The Australian government runs nine immigration detention centers on the mainland and one on Christmas Island, as well as the facilities on Manus and Nauru. Many visiting journalists have described the vetting process as extensive and detailed. While criticisms from the left suggest its cruel, others argue its the most efficient form of properly documenting who is allowed into the country than any other nation around the world.
The department’s “toughest border protection measures ever” messaging was advertised in 17 languages, along with “No Way” posters in overseas ports and on social media networks in a bid to send Australia’s closed-borders policy viral. That way, the world knows: no, Australia will not simply just let you in.
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