The great issue of immigration continues to dominate policy debates, with a lot of push provided by some powerful media windbags. Both Australia and the United States are embroiled in controversy over illegal immigration, and those pesky media outlets hover, eager for any morsel to feed upon and regurgitate to an unsuspecting and otherwise ignorant public.
The term “boat people” has become synonymous with the image of Australia’s wrong kind of immigrant. Do those pesky “queue jumpers” think they can get on their leaky rafts to Christmas Island to enjoy our world-class health service and hospitality on the taxpayers’ dime?
And let’s not forget America and all those “border hoppers” coming to take away our sub-standard jobs and drop their “anchor babies” into the sweet, hallowed earth of liberty.
What kind of purpose does the media hope to achieve by perpetuating these push-button buzzwords? Why invest such disproportionate amounts of attention on what, to be honest, is nothing really new? By employing these attention-grabbing techniques of fear-mongering and sensationalism, the only thing being achieved is the establishment of a good immigrant/bad immigrant dichotomy. And let’s not even get into the fact that we are yet to hear even a peep about the influx of “plane people.”
But it’s all just an elaborate distraction, intended to allow politicians to refocus public attention on an easy target- one that has nothing to do with actual policy whatsoever. Why else would Abbott place “STOPPING THE BOATS” as one of his key platform issues, when asylum seekers account for less than two per cent of the total immigration? Surely there are more pressing issues at hand. The same can be said of American politics. Can the public really be fooled into thinking immigrants having their babies within the borders of the land of the free is as big an issue as, say, providing adequate health care so that our own citizens don’t run off to another country to do the same?
On second thought, let’s not answer that last question.
Instead of parroting these hyped-up buzzwords to draw semi-derogatory caricatures of these human beings, why not shift the focus to a topic of real debate? Why not get the talking heads to discuss some real policies? Better yet- let’s hear from the immigrants themselves. Let them speak of the issues and policies that affect them the most. Let them do the talking. After all, outsourcing the tasks that we’re too cheap or lazy to do ourselves has always been the way to go, right?