The Guardian • Issue #2042

Immigration re-detention raids

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2042

Photo: John Englart – (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Having introduced laws to over-turn the legal decision last December that saw 163 people released from immigration detention, the government has begun re-detaining people.

It is understood that there are now four people in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) and up to 18 in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre who were rounded up in raids by squads of Border Force and police last week.

There is no indication that any discretion is being exercised regarding who is being targeted for re-detention, compounding the injustice of retrospective legislation.

One of the people re-detained in Melbourne had pleaded with Border Force not to be released from detention in December because he had nowhere to go.

“The government must stop its indiscriminate re-detention raids,” said Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, “Section 501 was always an unjust and discriminatory section of the Migration Act, that allowed the government to hold people, potentially indefinitely, even for minor crimes, just because they are non-citizens. It violates the accepted understanding of the criminal justice system.

“There must be complete transparency and full accounting of the fiasco surrounding the releases. Labor should spell out who was released and the circumstances of their re-detention.

“Labor is compounding its abuse of basic human rights – firstly using the Coalition’s tactic of overturning unfavourable legal decisions, secondly, making the law retrospective, and thirdly carrying out raids to re-detain without regard to whether or not there is any real threat to the community.

“Section 501 is just a way to fill immigration detention centres and fill private operator Serco’s pockets; it should be scrapped.”

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