Asylum Seekers - a Contemporary Social Issues in Australian Society

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The Oxford English Dictionary defines asylum as the shelter afforded by a country to someone who has had to leave their country of origin due to danger from political or other reasons (Oxford English Dictionary 2012). Structuralism, according to Babbie (2006), is a theory supporting the establishment of communities of different cultures. This paper will discuss the concept of asylum seekers in Australia as part of multiculturalism within the global population flow and critically examine the roles and values of the Australian people towards “uninvited immigrants” and the policies in relation to the recent influx of asylum seekers. Specifically, this paper will first give an overview of Australians and asylum seekers, then discuss the…show more content…
It is significant that multiculturalism is a policy that recognises, and endorses, cultural diversity, not non-racism (Van Krieken, Habibis, Smith, Hutchins, Haralambos, & Holborn 2006).
Australia has received immigrants for many years, as Jupp (2007) discusses, emigrants from Europe arrived in 1788, opening the way for 160,000 convicts. The Immigration Restriction Act, introduced in 1901 named the ‘White Australia Policy’, was to prevent the admission of non- Europeans into Australia. As the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship state, Australia assesses claims made by asylum seekers under the Migrations Act 1988 and Migration Regulations 1994. There is also an independent review process for people who arrive by sea know as “irregular maritime arrivals” and asylum is granted on individual circumstances after thorough background checks, which in some cases take years. Whilst waiting for their status to be recognised, asylum seekers are required to remain in detention centres (Commonwealth, 2012). The statistics published by the Department of Immigration show that when the Refugees Convention was set up in 1951 around 1.5 million immigrants existed worldwide. Towards the close of 2010 that figure had risen to 43.7 million, comprising many refugees, some 15 million with over 838,000 seekers of asylum and 27million relocated from their country of origin (Commonwealth, 2012). Whilst
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