Legal migrants are always welcomed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 March, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 March, 2002, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Joseph Ting headlined 'Worrying acceptance of racism in Australia' (South China Morning Post, February 26).

Mr Ting confuses Australia's treatment of illegal immigrants with racism. He describes illegal immigrants as Australia's 'most recent arrivals' as though they arrived in a legitimate manner and had a right to be there.

These people paid smugglers to sneak them into Australia. Potential migrants to any country have to go through processing to weed out disease, criminals and terrorists. They must wait in the queue. It is not a long queue in Australia, with more than 23 different visas aimed at helping people migrate to work, live, study, retire, invest or simply travel in our fantastic country. For many decades Australia has received continual waves of migrants from all points of the globe. Since the 1950s I have seen waves of British, Italians, Greeks, Turks, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Chinese, and many others arrive. They have made a positive contribution to Australia's development. Australian society embraces them and the new forms of restaurants, lifestyles and fashion they bring with them.

The country is a multicultural mixing pot. Many migrants arrive with little more than hope and a willingness to work hard. Australians call people like these 'battlers', and we love 'battlers'.

Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, are cheats trying to jump the queue. They can expect a cage in the desert and no welcome sign.


Happy Valley