Refugees and Immigration


Refugees and Asylum appear to be at the top of the policy and media agenda these days.  Incidentally, I am blessed to be a part of an organisation that actively assist refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.  One of the most productive opportunities I’ve had included helping to set up a school for refugee children in Christmas Island (2014) as a part of a federal funded initiative by the Catholic Education Office of WA.

In spite of all this, being an immigrant myself, I stand convinced that the best and most effective way of “fixing” the cause (and not just the symptom) is to go out to the nations and help the needy “fix” their own problems where they are, rather than just “let them come to us…“.  To this end, my family and I devoted almost a decade performing a role in fulfilling the “Great Commission” among my fellow countrymen (in Sri Lanka).

Somehow, I have found it a challenge to convince most people that a better solution would be to “fix the issues there, rather than just bring the problems here“.

Perhaps this colourful and thought provoking presentation by Roy Beck using data from the World Bank and U.S Census Bureau may help.

Immigration can never be an effective or significant way to deal with the suffering people of the world.  They have to be helped where they live“.

I am of the view that even while we assist the genuine refugees, we also undertake to actively participate in eradicating the negative causes (political and economical) which create these deplorable situations.  Treating the symptom while ignoring the cause will not help.  At least let us devote equal energy and resources into both these options.

It is also known that most “asylum seekers” are the very people who in turn could make the biggest positive contribution towards their own national development if given the opportunity. It is mainly the more affluent (at least in Sri Lanka), who have the means and connections to seek asylum overseas anyway.  So, what are we doing about the real refugees who cannot afford to get onto the boats?  Who looks after the ones left behind – the “real” refugees?  Out of sight, out of mind?