Detention and Deportation: A Continuing Scandal (Glenn 2007)

Nicholls, Glenn. 2007. “Detention and Deportation: A Continuing Scandal.” Arena.

Glenn Nicholls argues for fundamental reforms in the treatment of detainees and deportation legislation [in Australia].

The Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez scandals in 2005 brought intense pressure on the Immigration Department to be more careful in carrying out deportations and incarcerating potential deportees. The department is spending $550 million over five years on upgrading its computer systems and has promised a ‘change of culture’. But recent events show that far more fundamental reforms are needed. The department continues to use its formidable deportation powers to offload vulnerable individuals with little regard to their health and welfare; to expel long-term permanent residents deemed to be of bad character; and to undermine the court system. On 12 November 2007 the ABC Lateline program broke the tragic story of Tony Tran, who was illegally detained for over five years, while the Immigration Department attempted to deport his infant son without his knowledge. Later that same week the department was forced to re-examine the cases of over 400 people being held in immigration detention and to release fourteen people who had been detained improperly in the first place.