Australia’s Brutal Treatment of Migrants

Sep 03, 2015 · 176 comments
Paul Begley (Melbourne, Australia)
The Australian Government, assisted by a mute opposition Labor Party, makes every effort to inflate the refugee numbers and portray defenseless asylum seekers arriving in leaky boats as a threat to national security, requiring a military solution and draconian secrecy laws. In relative terms, a very small number of asylum seekers have attempted the boat trip to Australia, even before the boat turn backs began. But the heat generated on this issue has so muddied the facts and clouded judgment that a recently retired Australian senator and government minister, speaking on a national television panel program, asserted in all sincerity that Australia takes more asylum seekers than any country in the world. He was swiftly corrected by the other panelists but not before revealing the degree of delusional belief that prevails on this matter in Australia.
Marigrow (Deland, Florida)
Prime Minister Abbott is acting forcefully in the face of a flood of illegal immigrants to protect the interests of ordinary Australian citizens. We need someone like him here in the United States.
Hakuna Matata (San Jose)
All people want to preserve their way of life. Native Americans tried to do so against the tide of immigrants who displaced them into reservations but failed to do so because they were out-gunned.
blaine (southern california)
Maybe it is worth pointing out again how foolish it was for us to destabilize a government we did not like. Thank you George W. Bush for helping to create this huge mess. Governments we do not like are still maintaining stability more than not, and the developed world needs to be grateful for that.

Now, my main point here, is I begin to see how the Syrian conflict truly IS part of our national interest. We can't just sit on our hands and watch the crazies kill each other. The international migrant crisis spreads instability elsewhere. It affects us. Fences are a poor solution.

I think perhaps we have no choice. Like it or not, we have to be the world's policeman. The rest of the developed world has to help. Failed states are a threat to all of us. My guess is we are stuck with the need to have boots on the ground in a lot of places. Better that than waves of refugees at our borders.

And for god's sake, next time we see a Saddam Hussein, we leave him alone.
markd (Sydney)
The level of vitriol displayed in the user posts is disheartening. There seems to be a falsely held belief that refugees are a typically Western problem, and that the victims are simply "economic migrants". Nothing could be further from the truth.

According to Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the reverse is true. "The burden of helping the world's forcibly displaced people is starkly uneven," he said. "Poor countries host vastly more displaced people than wealthier ones. While anti-refugee sentiment is heard loudest in industrialised countries, developing nations host 80 per cent of the world's refugees."

In the case of Australia, there is a further belief that all refugees arrive by boat.

Also completely untrue.

The vast majority arrive by plane, but you don't hear about them in the news, as footage of someone walking through the arrivals terminal is a little less sensationalist.
Chris (Missouri)
The influence of Rupert Murdoch strikes again.
John Bolog (Vt.)
It's revealing to understand both sides in the Syrian revolution speak volumes about Islam. Whether Assad or ISIS prevails, what is best for the rest of the civilized world is a maximum of deaths, on both sides. This will, at the least, make it easier to corral and retrain the beasts, on both sides, who survive. Have a nice evening...
vandalfan (north idaho)
It's not happening in isolation. We are now an interconnected world. These people are not displaced because of growing birth rates but because the were forced out by war and famine and disease caused by extremism in religion and xenophobia, encouraged by the 1% and corporations. These people could remain in their native homes peacefully if more capital was circulating in the hands of consumers globally instead of parked in stock market gambling, serving only the ultra-rich 1%.
Ron (Portland, OR)
One factor that helps to feed these migrations is overpopulation. On average, the highest number of migrants come from areas with the highest birth rates. Part of the solution is more human birth control. Of course having fewer people on this planet won't automatically solve all of the world's problems. But we will never have a chance to solve these problems until our species reigns in it's irresponsible birth rate. If we refuse do it, nature will do it for us in a most brutal way. We are rapidly approaching the top of the human population bell curve.
Joel (New York, NY)
Australia's policy is understandable. It is a prosperous, lightly populated country in a region with poor and overpopulated neighbors and is at risk of a relatively greater flood of illegal immigrants than either the U.S. or the E.U.
Kurfco (California)
The way you curtail, if not absolutely prevent, illegal immigration is with messaging: "We have a legal immigration system, expect it to be followed, and will enforce it." Australia is doing that. And it is working.

The US, on the other hand, is virtually screaming the exact opposite to the world. Obama's policies are communicating "get in, hide out long enough, work and have a US citizen family while here, and eventually you, too, will qualify for some form of amnesty." It's no wonder we have an illegal immigration problem. We have had employers wanting illegal workers united with Democrats to prevent any hope of an effective immigration system.
DD (Los Angeles)
Contrary to this editorial's position, Australia has one of the few SANE policies on illegal immigration. No country is a bottomless pit of money and empathy.
The US has enough problems with illegal immigrants already here. NYC has more that half a million (a conservative estimate), who are using up social services (paid for by taxpayers), putting their kids in public schools and demanding bilingual education (paid for by taxpayers), receiving in-state tuition rates at CUNY and SUNY (paid for by taxpayers) and using up whatever affordable housing there is. Funny how DeBlasio never mentions this when he starts wringing his hands about the lack of affordable housing in the city!
Meanwhile, the MTA and LIRR breakdown, the city infrastructure is a mess, and legal tax-paying city workers are now 5+ years without a new contract.
I wish Tony Abbott would run for NYC mayor.
KS (Upstate)
I don't pretend to have answers, but isn't there a certain lady in NY Harbor who is supposed to represent the best of us? From the negative remarks I've read, it doesn't sound like the US is a Christian nation either!
Paul (Shelton, WA)
KS: The core problem, the elephant in the room that all the people don't want to mention, is that the vast majority of the migrants in Europe are Muslims who believe in Islam. Islam is fundamentally antithetical to Western beliefs and jurisprudence. In Islam, there is no separation of Church and State, they are one and the same and the Church is the leader of the religious state. Very, very little of anything else is allowed. Certainly no other beliefs.

That is true for Australia, too, the SE migrants are largely Muslim, especially from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Already Britain is allowing certain disputes in the Muslim community to be settled by Sharia Law. That is insane. In Australia, the Muslims were demanding judgment by Sharia Law. More insanity. The Australians are saying "NO"!! So should Europe.

Further, they do not integrate. It's as if we are allowing an eventual Fifth Column to invade our countries. I'm on the downhill side of life but my children and their children will regret our insanity.

And our immigration policy is also totally broken. 40% of the people coming here on visas come by plane and overstay their visas and disappear into the population. We do not track them to be sure they leave. More insanity.

Trump isn't at the top of the current heap because he is hated. He is speaking truth to power and millions of disenfranchised middle class and poor know that and support him. I think Ben Carson would be better but is just my opinion.
Barbara (L.A.)
Funny how the west is "the great Satan" until these people want a decent society to live in. What contribution are Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia, making to ease the crisis? Many, if not most, of these migrants are Islamic and will bring all the instability and infighting common to tribes with them to the west. Look at England, where Islamists want their own Sharia law. After these thousands of migrants settle in, they will want citizenship and the vote. What then? Sharia law in the west?
jag (los altos ca)
It takes a crisis to shake down which nations can claim to be truly compassionate. The refugee crisis is a direct outcome of our failed policies and those of our European allies. Germany and some of the Scandinavian countries are the few countries who have displayed leadership and compassion. For example, Germany has agree to accept 80,000 whereas Britain less than 200. Perhaps, GWB could accommodate several hundred at his ranch in Texas and DC at his ranch in Wyoming using some of his ill-gotten gains from Halliburton.
Yellow Rose (CA)
I had to stop reading the comment stream here . . . too disheartening. These poor people who are trying to find a better life for themselves and their families, simply to stay alive one more day and not be terrorized by war, hunger, joblessness, desperation of all kinds . . . who are we to know what their lives have been like? How dare the commenters here, so safe in their own little worlds, condemn these people to death.
John (Los Angeles)
Are you willing to pay out of your own pocket, using your hard work and sweat, to give these people a chance? People who don't share the same cultural values as you, and whose children might grow up to hate you and your country and everything you stand for? If yes, then the next question is why?
Nick Metrowsky (Longmont, Colorado)
By the way, this has been going on for months; it started under the Gillard administration. Christmas Island is now one huge internment camp, as are other places mentioned din the article. Mr. Abbott took it one step further by effectively building an invisible wall around Australia.

What this article doe snot mention, is the push for the Abbot government to expel and strip citizenship from people who may be involved with what the government deems "terrorism".

And then there was what happened in the Central Business District of Melbourne a couple weeks ago. Immigration Police stopping anyone who may look "foreign" to check for a VISA, passport or legal presence in Australia. Never the mind that they were stopping people because they did not look "Australian".

A preview of our GOP if they get the White House again. Mr. Trump must he following Mr. Abbott's play book. And like here, polls in Australia show support for extra security tactics, even if it means giving up one's civil rights to do so.

So, The New York Times could have easily made this article sound like the United States, of a GOP future; xenophobic.
Nick Metrowsky (Longmont, Colorado)
By the way, in The Sydney Morning Herald (what would be tomorrow here) has an article about this editorial.
driheart (Detroit)
These are not migrants, these are infiltrators who take advantage of civilized countries to create metastatic communities of their mother countries particularly when these countries are Muslim. Countries, Australia, cannot afford to subjugate their social services and economy to infiltrators. New Zealand never allowed immigration, neither Switzerland.
markd (Sydney)
"New Zealand never allowed immigration" is just plain wrong. How do you think all the white people got there? By magic? The level of paranoia and xenophobia you display in a few short sentences is staggering.
Matt (NYC)
Another example of the paradox that is "international law." The article opens by saying Australia's policy is on shaky legal grounds. There's certainly a moral/ethical argument to be made, but I would say it's international law itself that has always existed on shaky legal grounds. Every nation is sovereign. If one nation wants to force another nation to do something, they have precious few options. Basically, threats of economic or physical force are the only tools available. "What about international law?" What about it? Countries don't become countries just so they can submit to the majority rule of non-citizens. One of the most basic requirements for having a country at all is the ability to control one's own borders. Harsh or not, the only people with a legal right to enter Australia are its own citizens and those it picks and chooses for the privilege. Now if Australia ever needs refuge itself, its citizens may not find many sympathizers, but that's their burden to bear. If other countries want to exert pressure they can refuse to have dealings with Australia until they comply. But a LEGAL argument? Don't be absurd. You need a country's permission to enter. Entering without permission is trespass for an individual and an act of war for a country (for instance, no matter how strong the U.S.'s feelings, we had no "right" to enter Iraq; Guatemalan refugees have no "right" to enter the U.S.). Compassion is one thing, but legality is quite another.
CassidyGT (York, PA)
Good for Australia. At least they have some sense. The refugees need to go back home and fight for their way of life. Where are the Patrick Henry's of these countries? Where are the men who will fight to preserve their way of life from terrorists and corruption? I mean who just flees? Take back your country or die trying!
Peter (Brooklyn)
So easy for you to say, from the comfort of your computer screen and with the good fortune of residing in a democracy. Anyone who lives here is a member of the lucky sperm club, and we would do well to remember that before berating others born into overwhelming poverty and hopelessness.
vandalfan (north idaho)
They are dying under the bombs paid for by the USA and Saudi Wahabbists, for one thing, or starving due to blockades.
Vincent (Tagliano)
It is not incumbent upon nations with responsible, stable birth rates to destabilize themselves by allowing the developing world's excess human capital to roam freely into their territories. Nation states serve the interests and well-being of their citizens first and foremost.
Raymond (Oregon)
The Aborigines could easily have argued that way. Or Native Americans. Wait, they could not: they were subjugated and enslaved. And in certain cases deliberately wiped out.
rimantas (Baltimore, MD)
Australia had to make a choice: allow the tides of migrants to come in and thus mistreat their own population?
Or reject them and accept the criticism of the liberal press?
At least, the people their government is responsible for are being taken care of. If only other governments would do the same, including ours.
Mike (PA)
Sadly, this kind of emergency immigration is like abortion - the people for and against it have justifiable reasons for believing as they do: (1) A country cannot just let its boarders open; yet nor can it simply let hundreds of thousands of boat-traveling immigrants die of exposure or drown. So where to draw the line? It's difficult to tell. Similarly, in abortions, when do we say that it is too late for it to be ethical to destroy a person inside another person? Again, it is difficult to tell, and no easy answers such as 'No being inside a person is yet a person' or 'Any number of immigrants should be allowed to enter any country' will do.
anthonyRR (Portugal)
As far as I know Australia has in place comprehensive immigration programs,so,those who want to emigrate to Australia do have a solid framework to do so.What Australia does not accept is a complete anarchy of hundreds of boats arriving every month to its shores plenty of "refugees" who are not real refugees-most of them.Australia´s tough stance on this has helped save many lives because this flow has been reduced drastically,and the traffickers know that very well.
Paul Ballard (Bethesda, MD)
As the New York Times very rightly points out, Australia's recent brutal treatment of migrants is at odds with its own history and recent tradition. Australia has in fact very successfully - until now - attracted immigrants from across Asia and the Middle East. This has occurred just as previous Australian governments sought to re-define Australia as an Asian country - as much as if not more than as a European one.

It did so for powerful economic reasons : China and India - and later also Africa - are huge potential markets for Australia's products - most notably minerals and agricultural goods. Between them, the three offer a combined market of 3.5 billion people - far larger than Europe and North America.

The blatant racism of a right-wing government now in Australia that seeks to reject migrants from the very regions with which it has increased trade massively in the past 25 years and thus raised its economy and living standards, is as morally reprehensible as it will be self-defeating in the long-term. After all, how likely is it that the leaders of Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries will continue to view Australia with a friendly eye, if this appalling policy persists?
The Poet McTeagle (California)
Australia is thinking long term. An easy entry would open the floodgates for tens of millions of people, more than the current human population of Australia.

Australia is terribly short of fresh water and climate change will make this worse, not better. Australia's environment is fragile. Countries have an obligation to their own citizens and the natural environment, something the US seems to think unnecessary.

Why does the NYT Editorial Board not insist that countries who cannot provide decent lives for their citizens at least provide free, safe, easily available contraception, to reduce the need for mass migration in the first place?
Cindy-L (Woodside, CA)
Many countries have an aging and shrinking population because they want it that way. The hordes of immigrants migrating to developed countries have high reproduction rates. They threaten to overwhelm the resources of the countries they are migrating to. Is any country capable of accommodating these refugees without doing harm to their own citizens?
JohnD (Connecticut)
There is a reason countries have borders. I see no reasonable cause for migrants to have unrestricted access through any countries borders. Wake Up!
Erich (NY)
It really sounds like Australia has it act together when it comes to handling illegal migrants. Good for them!
Ryan Bingham (Out there)
No wonder it is such a cool place.
Jimmy (Jersey City, N J)
Australia is sending a clear message, don't come. Good for them. Those that try must face the consequences (without which the message wouldn't get through). Sounds to me like a good way to stop them (and it soiunds like it's working). These people should stay in, or near, their country of origin and fight for change (imagine if all the men stayed put and fought Issis, eh).
rich (NJ)
Given the violence that immigrants have inflicted upon Australia, it is no surprise that they are unwelcome in the Land Down Under.
al (boston)
People who appeal to what they mis-perceive as "humane" approach consistently and deliberately evade any solution to people's migration. They try their hardest to obfuscate a problem that is fairly simple.

Fact 1: There are highly economically developed societies with much higher standards of living and often better quality of life.

Fact 2: People from under-developed ones will always be trying to "make a better life for their children."

Fact 3: Uncontrolled migration will inevitably drag the developed nations down to the level of the newcomers, while countries controlling such migration will prosper outcompete the "conscientious" ones.

Australia has made the only sensible and humane thing - control the migration. She has the guts and the sense to openly say that Australia and its people will decide whom they will welcome, how many, and under what conditions. Their gov has the integrity to do its job, which is to look after the interests of the Australian people first and foremost.

I only wish we had a gov with at least half their spinal fortitude. Fat chance with our gov bought by special interest groups for special interest groups. Dream on the American people.
jcy500 (Santa Barbara)
The onus is on all first world countries to do what is necessary to improve economic opportunities in all those countries people are fleeing from. As difficult as such tasks are, all other solutions would not serve the migrant populations long term
karen (benicia)
We cannot improve economic opportunities for these countries because they are mostly fundamentalist muslims who insist on procreating to an extent that makes economic improvement impossible. We can try to distribute contraception but we cannot force them to use it. Ergo, problem continues.
Terrence (Milky Way Galaxy)
Look at our own history, wherein certain groups here over two hundred years may be said not to have assimilated. Political correct rules forbid any efforts to single out groups that have higher rates of crime than others, disproportionately are on welfare, and do much less well in school than many other groups. But thus far no Trump type is proposing a modern day repatriation program, which was considered even by Lincoln. But if Europe takes that route, it will be more likely considered here. We really need disinterested, empirical studies of what works in enabling diverse cultural groups to live harmoniously together and benefit from a clearly defined diversity. But thus far we're afraid of that course of action. The questions we all need to consider: What works? Which disparate groups have gotten lived harmoniously and why?
Coopmindy (<br/>)
The harshness of so many comments takes my breath away. Yes, of course Australia has a right to protect its borders, but to suggest that brutalizing children is a good way to do so is beyond bestial.
karen (benicia)
I think most of the commenters doubt the veracity of reports of abuse of children A bit of healthy skepticism.
Trippe (Vancouver BC)
Sorry, any country that participated with the 'US led coalition' invading Iraq and Afghanistan has a moral duty to assist with this refugee crisis. While many are from Syria, many others are from Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan...the whole region became even more destabilized after our countries' bombed them.
Margaret (The Woodlands, Texas)
The comments in the post show the hypocrisy of Western thought. The U. S. and its allies, including Australia, have been guilty for the wars they have waged against so many parts of the world, including the Middle East, but once the repercussions of their foolishness are felt by the civilians in these countries, the invading countries lock their gates, prevent the innocent from seeking refuge in a safe place, and international law and human rights are breached. It really takes a lot of nerve. It makes it so obvious to all that the wars had nothing to do with saving people, or improving their lives. Perhaps we can summon a child to remind the emperor that he is naked.
karen (benicia)
I am not guilty. I have protested all these wars and my voice was not heard.
And I thought it was just Israel & the US that the editorial board criticizes. Nope they want the entire planet to be one mass of no individual national identity. Let em all in.
Paul (Sacto)
Although some may find your comment hyperbolic, I think you accurately describe the editorial policy of the NYT on this matter.
massimo podrecca (NY, NY)
Par for the course. Look at how it treated the aborigines.
Steve (Sydney)
Perhaps if the United States and Europe would stop supplying countries with weapons and bombs in the form of aid there would be less off a refugee problem
Yes I Am Right (Los Angeles)
Let's hope that President Trump shows the same strength and love for his country as Tony Abbott.
Greg (Austin, Texas)
And where is the NYT editorial on the US policy of not helping the refugees whose homes and businesses and families and friends we have blasted into dust? We are destroying Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries throughout Foreverstan (the middle east) through our wars of empire. We should be taking the largest numbers of refugees of all countries in the world. What has happened to us? Have we lost all sympathy and caring for suffering people in the name of our global empire? Our wars of empire have no end in sight. And that means no end in sight for the suffering of millions of people.
Maria (California)
Thank you. Instead of the Upshot tracking meaningless polls for GOP candidates whose support is in the single digits, it should feature stark counters of how many children are fleeing various areas of conflict vs. how many refugees rich countries are taking. This is a global shame.
Reality Based (Flyover Country)
News flash for Republicans demagoguing it up on "uncontrolled immigration" and applauding Australia for its tough guy approach. The US has a net loss of illegal immigration under the Obama administration, and it accomplished that without human rights atrocities. Perhaps that's because no Republican administration has ever, or will ever, actually take seriously enforcing immigration laws by penalizing employers, including a couple million contractors and sub-contractors scamming both employees and the tax collectors.

It's so much easier to give idiotic speeches about "anchor babies" and 2000 mile walls. And playing "tough guy".
CDW (Stockbridge, MI)
Please don't overlook the 5,000+ mile wall between Canada and the U.S. Seems a "considered" idea of candidate Scott Walker at this time.
Sue (Cleveland)
The "net loss of illegal immigration under Obama" only happened because our economy is so bad.
John (Los Angeles)
Actually, federal judges disagree with you. They consider what Obama has done at the border to be a violation of human rights.
Lasse (Europe)
...this is not about money or a threat to cultural integrity; it's about helping refugees fleeing war. Australia seems to find money more important than humanity. How about a little menschkeit?
RJD (Down South)
Editorial Board,

Thank you for bringing to light Australia's immigration crisis.

I assume tomorrow's paper will have the headline:
"Obama Refuses to Accept 500,000 Syrians and 250,000 Central Americans, 150,000 Mexicans, 400,000 Africans...America's Brutal Treatment of Migrants"

The President doesn't need Congressional approval, there is always Executive Directive. Julia Gillard fits into your narrative so well, Tony Abbott not so much.
ProudAmericaan (Indiana)
Talk about who Australia belongs to. It does not belong to the White folks that enslaved the native Australians and occupied the land with vicious force since the 16th century. What needs to be done is to kick all the white folks out of Australia and send them back to Europe where they came from, preferably in slave sailing ships for what they are doing now for these destitute migrants.
PeteH (Sydney, AU)
Deport all the whites,man return the and to the indigenous people who, in 40 000 years of so-called "civilization" had not even invented a wheel?
Maxm (Redmond WA)
Lets see, what other country might have a similar history of white folks evil misdeeds ..... ProudAmerican indeed
Really (Boston, MA)
You should read the book Fatal Shore about how Australia came to be because your comment is ridiculous. Many of the original settlers were de facto slaves themselves and political prisoners that the English forcibly transported there when England was colonizing Ireland.
Elfego (New York)
Good for Australia -- They have a country with borders and a government that works to protect the people from those who would ignore the borders and illegally invade the country. If only Europe and the US would learn from the Aussie example!
Shauntelle (Sydney)
Seeking asylum is not illegal. Unfortunately, within the country, many of us are against the horrific behaviour of our government. Problem is that you don't hear about that. You hear the government spouting its ridiculous mantra about "illegal asylum". I apologise for our influence in your misguided understanding of asylum.
Jordan (Melbourne Fl.)
Liberalism is the only humane way to do business, that is until they run out of other peoples money to spend. This is, of course, the worldwide illegal immigration issue in a nutshell. Liberals please send your personal fortunes to Australia, but don't force the spending on unwilling Australians (or Americans for that matter with respect to our southern border).
karen (benicia)
please do not attempt to blame the US problem on liberals. Reagan passed the first amnesty act; GOP employers are the ones who hire all the illegals and who have resisted e-verify all the way.
Rocky (California)
Austrsalia has decided not to commit national suicide. I can't say that I blame it.
Raymond (BKLYN)
Australian PM Tony Abbott, a former Jesuit seminarian, is the Down-Under equivalent of GWBush. A brutal, self-concerned man incapable of empathy & highly energetic at appealing to the basest instincts.
Laura Hunt (here there and everywhere)
How about taking care of the problems within the countries these people are fleeing from? How about a little responsibility on the leaders there? They take aid yet it seems to do little. Time also for the oil rich Arab countries to lend a hand, they have more in common with these people than say the French or Germans, at least they speak the same language and adhere to the dress code. Good on Australia for showing the rest of the world what needs to be done.
D. H. (Philadelpihia, PA)
YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET! Just wait till the sea levels start to rise and people who live along the coast have to flee to nearby states for shelter. Given the horrific violence captured on smart phones and viewed by millions on the internet, states will set up armed forces along their borders to repel citizens of other states. The United States will be united no longer. Before that there may be refugees fleeing death by dehydration in the millions.
elmueador (New York City)
I wonder how the aborigines would have reacted to the hordes of Britannia's criminals shipped to their shores if they had had the means... I think they would have let the Abbotses and his immigrant ilk drown, it's only human.
Really (Boston, MA)
Many of the "hordes of Britannia's criminals" were political prisoners and ethnic minorities, check out the book Fatal Shore for a little background on Australia.
sarai (ny, ny)
Are we looking at a future Islamization of Europe and a return to the Dark Ages?
Cynthia Williams (Cathedral City)
The lack of empathy in the posted responses is stunning. Yes, Australia has to control immigration, but they, along with the US, could take a LOT more refugees than they/we are currently doing. And either way, there's no excuse for the deliberately brutal manner in which they're discouraging refugees.
MM (New York)
No, it is not stunning. The only thing that is stunning is the suffocating political correctness of some in America.
Erich (NY)
Australia being a democracy, the number of immigrants it can take is up to the people and its elected representatives. Alas, they seem to have settled on a lower number than you would've liked!
JohnB (Staten Island)
Sure, Australia could take in more "refugees" than they are doing now. But that would encourage even *more* to come! Further, "refugees" already in Australia act as a special interest group, and the more of them there are, the more pressure they can put on the Australian government to admit even more. Since there is effectively an unlimited number of "refugees," the process threatens to snowball, until the current population of Australia has lost control of their own country. That is the real danger! The prospect may not bother you, but can you at least make an effort to understand why it might bother the Australians?

(BTW, I have quoted the word "refugees" because a very large percentage of the people trying to force their way into Western countries are not in fact true refugees; they are ambitious young men who have enough money to hire smugglers (i.e., they are not poor in their own countries), and who are willing to take personal risks in the hope of advancing their own fortunes. There has never been a shortage of such young men, and the word for them is not "refugee," but "adventurer").
Steve M (Doylestown, PA)
Events in New York City, Ft. Hood, Paris, London, Madrid, Copenhagen, Belgium, and the Netherlands are evidence that it is a mistake for a liberal secular educated tolerant peaceful modern society to try to absorb hundreds of thousands or millions of conservative religious uneducated intolerant violence prone reactionaries. The Australians understand this while the German government and the Times editors do not.
blackmamba (IL)
Australia started out as a British penal colony. Europeans arriving in Australia from England 40-50,000 years after the Aboriginal Australians inhabitants did not treat them very well. Most Australians have either British or Irish heritage. Much like America where those two groups are right behind German heritage.

Much like Europe, Australia has a rapidly aging and shrinking population. Based upon simple geographic proximity the most likely sources of immigrants to Australia are Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. It is in the best long term socioeconomic political educational demographic interest of Australia to have a simple consistent fast cheap welcoming legal immigration policy.
Doina (Mount Pleasant, MI)
How about the people who either stay put and do not run away or cannot afford to pay the traffickers' price and board a ship. Do they not deserve some compassion, sympathy and help?
E (Chicago)
Simple search all the articles from years ago about people dying to get to Australia it was very similar to what is happening now in Europe. They implemented this policy and it has saved thousands of people from dying. It's not a nice policy or a friendly one but it's effective and it gives Australia it's sovereign right to decide who comes into the country and who doesn't.
Daniel A. Greenbum (New York, NY)
The Times Editorial Board increasingly condemns behavior without suggesting any plausible actions. The world is seven years into an economic downturn that is surpassed only by the Great Depression. The Rightwing has enacted austerity making the economies of the world even worse. Meanwhile, the Muslim world is exploding. It is hard to imagine the middle classes of the world and especially ones that see themselves tied to national or ethnic groups happily taking too many immigrants.
Mary Cattermole (San Gregorio, CA)
I suggest that each "right to lifer" in the US adopt a migrant, support that migrant, and bring them to the US legally. Then they will be too busy to harass Planned Parenthood.
Robert (Brattleboro)
The sooner Europe and the Unites States follow the Australian model for stopping illegal immigration the sooner the flood of migrants will stop. It is that simple.
Sean Mulligan (kitty hawk)
At least someone has some sense.
Grace Brophy (<br/>)
Hard to believe there are so many ugly, inhumane people in this world. And I'm not talking about the Australians but those who commented here so far. May I remind the person who criticized the Times editorial writers that they have no skin in the game that he/she also has no skin in the game. Try to develop some empathy for others. Also, may I remind all of those commenting that it's likely that their own ancestors escaped from their lands of origin to take over the lands of other native populations. Wish native Americans had build some walls. Walls, walls, walls, the answer to everything, apparently!
MM (New York)
Sorry Grace. Too many people are struggling in first world countries to take on more taxes to take care of others. Its not inhumanity.
Joe McNally (Scotland)
We are all where we are mostly by accidents of birth.

Had ours not been such 'happy accidents', how many here would not do what the migrants are trying to do?

Let them come. Be human again. We might have to give up life's luxuries, but we would survive, all of us.
Laura Hunt (here there and everywhere)
How many of these unchecked/undocumented refugees are terrorists? I don't blame Australia they are looking out for their citizens first and foremost.
LiberalFascist (Vero Beach, FL)
This policy should be enforced in all prosperous nations. Enough with taking in the bottom feeders and forcing others to foot the bill.
I really wonder how many of those who want to force the acceptance of immigrants would still support it if it was THEIR HOUSE AND THEIR MONEY that was being used. The number would be zero, whether you have the guts to admit it or not is another matter
Projunior (Tulsa)
When the members of the NYT Editorial Board offer up their beach houses in the Hamptons to house migrants, then they can lecture others on compassion.
Maria (California)
Not an expert on Australia's approach to migrants or refugees and I am sure this is a worthwhile editorial. However, I would love for the editorial board of the NYT to talk about the monumental failure of the US government to deal with the plight of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
We are a rich, powerful country and we have taken in fewer than 1000 Syrian refugees. This is an unacceptable and disgraceful reality. If we are afraid of "potential terrorists", vet children and mothers - it should be easy, about 50% of the Syrian refugees are children.
The inaction of US government in the face of this crisis merely compounds the shameful failure of our foreign policy in the Middle East. So criticize Australia but first, look closer to home where you may be able to make a difference if you could stop covering Donald Trump's shameful fear campaigning for two seconds.
Guy in KC (Missouri)
It is quite funny how completely out of step with its readership the Times is on this issue. The vast, overwhelming majority of comments underneath each of the increasingly grossly biased articles and opinion pieces (at this point, they are indistinguishable) published by the Times reflect that the Times liberal readership just isn't buying what the Times is selling with respect to its radical open-borders, "build a gold-plated bridge to the West for any and all who wish to come" philosophy.

I am a liberal. I am also foursquare against the notion that Western nations must or should take in tens of millions of people from other countries simply because limousine liberals in editorial positions in the liberal media believe to their core that borders should not exist. If we follow the policy prescriptions of the Times in this respect, the West as we know it will be dead in a generation.
John (Los Angeles)
It's not just the NYT. The Guardian in the UK has the same problem. People are reaching a breaking point. It helps to explain the popularity of Trump and his outlandish immigration proposals. Citizens of western countries are buckling under a global economic contagion that is seemingly unending; their real incomes are shrinking; the safety net established by their forebears is under attack by all sides and in real danger of disappearing in the near future; their security and safety is under constant threat from those who disagree, to their very core, with western philosophy and ideals; the land and earth in which they live is slowly deteriorating around them; and yet they are asked to further burden themselves with unwanted and unwelcome hordes of people from other countries, many of whom follow the same religion as the very people attacking them.

People are beginning to stand up and say enough. We in the west are not the caretakers of every person on the planet. We are barely getting by. Let's help ourselves before we worry about a Syrian family in Turkey that doesn't like it there. Charity begins at home.
Westside Guy (L.A.)
You can bet the French, Dutch, Hungarians and Germans are all wishing they too were an island in the Pacific, because the influx of Muslims into their countries, persons who do not share their language, values or traditions of democracy mean that 75 yrs down the road, they won't even be recognizable in their present form given the birth rate of Muslim families.

Even the English, who are an island, have been done by the unfettered Muslim immigration they foolishly allowed to happen, and now they have entire regions of unemployable, disaffected would-be jihadis getting radicalized by mosques whose main goal is Sharia law.

I don't blame the Aussies. I don't defend any abuse at these camps and that needs a quick fix but it is the Australians inalienable right to decide who immigrates to their country and who doesn't.

Just like ours. Can someone tell me how we have 12 million illegal aliens in this country? Don't think it hasn't changed our culture? Come to Southern California. Just make sure you speak Spanish.
California Man (West Coast)
They're coming in the millions. They demand huge expenditures of money and support. They often have no skills and no prospects. Many are dangerous, fugitives in their own countries.

So what is Australia SUPPOSED to do with them?
Juvenal451 (USA)
I suspect that attitudes toward refugees vary wildly from country to country; and that variation correlates with countries' location relative refugees' home countries. As we've seen, a trickle of immigrants can quickly become a torrent for countries like Italy which are just across the water from the crescent of Twitter-fed Arab Spring-related misery.
Mytwocents (New York)
Bravo to Australia! Australia's elected leaders defend the people who elected them and work in their best interest and in confluences with their desires, not like in the US where the Congress and the NYT sold the war in Iraq to millions of people who protested against it, or like in Europe, which is facing a Muslim invasion and long term problems with assimilation and terrorism.

I hope the next POTUS (Trump or Sanders) will do the same and listen to the interest of the people who elected them not to destructive editorials such as these.

I hear life is good in Australia. 15 dollars per hour minimum wage, and people don't have to live with roommates until old age like in New York, the model which this editorial team seems to want to export.
Migden (Atherton, CA)
Australia is one of the few sane nations left in the world.
I had not knowledge that this was happening in Australia. They have kept their secret very well hidden. I thank NYTIMES for the information here provided. Now we should not only focus on the treatment that refugees receive in Europe but also in Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.
We also have to undersant that the flow of migrants all around the world is not going to cease as long as the war in the middle east continues expanding and the poverty instead of decreasing is increasing at a abysmal pace. WE, WEALTHY NATIONS where these people are fleeing to, should not only create measures on how to integrate and cope with these migrants in their country but they need to figure out how to stop this people from fleeing int he fisrt place. We need to fix this problem where it started. THIS IS NOT GOING TO STOP PEOPLE. This is only the beginning. More migrants are going to keep coming to Europe and to richest nations in the world. They are going to be many millions of refugees.
Alan Wearne (Australia)
Under Abbott Australia risks becoming the South Africa of the 21st Century. Believe me, the current regime is as extremist as any that has been in power in this country, tapping into reserves of xenophobia. Luckily these reserves aren't limitless, and with an election to be held within a year the Government's and Abbott's standing in the polls is abysmal.
LadyMephisto (New York)
These people are NOT "migrants" looking for work and a better life! They are REFUGEES fleeing war, hunger and persecution in their own countries, including Syria. Words do matter and whitewashing what's happening with these refugees won't erase our role in creating this ongoing misery. Calling refugees 'migrants' diminishes the reality of their struggles to escape evil regimes and their religious wars.
Steve the Commoner (Charleston, SC)
Austailia is an independent nation, which would sink in the ocean if every refugee boat landed on it's shore.
ThatJulieMiller (Seattle)
I expect more governments willing to flout international law and pull up the draw bridges will be elected throughout the “developed” world.

According to the World Bank: "By any measure, the fact that over 2 billion people in the developing world are confronted by some form of extreme violence illustrates the nature of the development challenge: conflict and violence either bar the door to development for many countries or strip years off development gains when conflict occurs."

Terrible as it has been, he migrant crisis of the summer of 2015 is a mere harbinger of a future where millions will attempt migrate to economically desirable and politically stable nation. As reported in The Guardian today, “Today everything is immigration,” said the EU president, Donald Tusk, on Thursday. “We live in sobering, shocking times.”

Illegal and inhumane measures like those the democratically elected Australian and Hungarian governments are deploying are designed to make their countries an unattractive destination for refugees and migrants. Hungarian Prime Minister Orbak today warned migrants openly 'stay in Turkey, the nearest safe country' to Syria; and wrote in a German periodical: “Irresponsibility is the mark of every European politician who holds out the promise of a better life to immigrants and encourages them to leave everything behind and risk their lives in setting out for Europe."
EK (Somerset, NJ)
Australia has it just right.

If the Europeans don't start turning this onslaught away they will lose their cultures as well as their financial security.

It is a matter of self-preservation. Period.

Middle-Eastern Muslims who are fleeing conflict should turn to their wealthy Arab brothers for help. There won't be religious or cultural conflicts to tear apart their new host nations.

If these migrants are so concerned about the safety of their families, they should keep them on dry land and walk to Saudi Arabia.
Sean (NYC)
"The world’s war zones are all but certain to continue to churn out an extraordinary number of refugees and economic migrants in the years ahead"

Even though the more that are allowed in exponentially increases the future numbers, this Editorial seems to suggests that there should be an opportunity for limitless migration. Host countries will see there social safety nets crumble under the sheer weight of the demands put on them. Standards of living will fall, harming those on the bottom more than the top. Social cohesion, as we have seen throughout Europe, will be strained further. Islam will gain throughout most host countries, hindering the concepts of freedom and equality.
Edward Corey (Bronx, NY)
Considering that the white citizens of Australia are descendants of criminals ejected from their native England who, like their white American cousins, thought eradicating the native population was a necessary amusement, the height of hypocrisy is towering. Perhaps they know themselves too well.
theni (phoenix)
Australia, once created to house thieves, murderers and low lives away from Britain, now shows its true color from the past. A little known fact: until recently, if you ran over an aborigine (native Australian)on the highway, you didn't need to stop or report it. I am glad that NYT is really calling this country out for what it really is.
John (NYC)
So long as some countries prosper and others founder, there always will be an economic incentive to migrate.

So long as there is a disparity, this will never, ever end. So we need policies that work today as well as tomorrow and in 50, 150 years.

That policy can't be "everyone who lives in the developing world and obtains means of travel can resettle in the developed world because it is nicer there."
Donald Surr (PA)
Australia is and has been a country that welcomes legal immigrants, far more than most. One only has to spend some time there in cosmopolitain cities such as Sydney and Melbourne to know that. No country, however, is obligated to accept and absorb hordes of illegals, migrants who think that they can cross borders at will, without permission, with no means of support and no prior screening. To allow that would be to invite total chaos. The blame for the plight of these poor people must lie with the rulers and privileged classes in their countries of origin.
grmela (paris)
I'd like to know which European countries have been to Australia on fact-finding missions.
The pure concept of private run detention centres is appalling- they are answerable to no-one. I believe one of them is run by an English company that also supplies security services in war zones- the same war zones that the asylum seekers are escaping from.
Why does Australia always walk the line on breaching human rights? Australian aboriginals know all too well just how far successive governments will go to eradicate 'unwanted peoples'- it just makes me ill that there is no reprimand.
Stop turning a blind eye!
G.L. Birnie, Jr. (Manchester, MI 48158)
I have great sympathy for the plight of the fleeing migrant families, yet have no meaningful solutions of any consequence to offer for abating the problem. Simply taking them in does not solve the problem.

Regardless, I find the Ed board just a tad hypocritical in their indictment...maybe even a bit sanctimonious. In such approach I find several poverbial contexts that come to mind: "Physician heal thyself" and "He amongst you who is without sin, cast the first stone" and "Folks that live in glass houses shouldn't be pitch'n stones".

We are already dealing with the influx of illegal Mexicans crossing our borders to seek a better life. And I don't blame them. It would be my take away that the Canadians could also be a potential problem, but see their lot as considerably better than ours so have opted to stay put. And I don't blame them.

I seriously doubt that any of the Ed board would be any too happy if they awoke one morning to find several immigrant families camped out on their front lawns and banging on the back door asking to be fed and their kids educated. All reasonable requests if absolute compassion rather than practicality and feasibilty ruled the situation.

I submit that the majority of the board would be indignantly calling the sherrif's department and submitting charges of trespass, sanitary code violation, loitering and panhandling.

We've got plenty of problems in THIS country that need serious social address. I suggest that you work on those first.
grannychi (Grand Rapids, MI)
When I lived in a crowded European country, it was made very clear to me from the outset that I was a guest in their home... their country was their home. As such, I was expected to be respectful of all citizens and to obey their laws. Perhaps considering this perspective gives a bit of insight into the reception of tens and hundreds of thousands of people who forcefully enter such countries. There's a huge and non-recognized sense of one's own home being violated.
GM (Melbourne AU)
In April this year, Prime Minister Abbott said in the Australian parliament "The only way you can stop the deaths is, in fact, to stop the boats. That's why it is so urgent that the countries of Europe adopt very strong policies that will end the people smuggling trade across the Mediterranean.” A more humane refugee policy instituted by a previous Labor government created a surge in people smuggling and hundreds of migrant deaths from drowning in the waters off Northern Australia. The politicians of Australia are brutally pragmatic, as are refugees who pass through multiple countries before declaring asylum in the country that offers the greatest economic opportunity. In time, we will likely see the leaders of Germany and other European nations take a similarly draconian approach. Sadly, Australia proves that humane approaches to refugee crises create greater crises, and the twisted logic of 'cruel to be kind' policies that are politically tenable because at least dead babies are no longer washing up on Australian shores.
Catherine Parry (Newark NJ)
The original migrants to Australia were considered the dregs of society, who found asylum and a chance for redemption in the place of their exile. Without underplaying the challenges of recent mass migrations because of civil conflict and climate catastrophes, it is disgraceful that the Australian government is not doing a better job at rising to the occasion and coming up with solutions to the problem that might be an inspiration to other, often less prosperous, countries facing the same situation.
Valerie Wells (New Mexico)
I am a registered Progressive Democrat. However, my views skew towards Right wing policies where it comes to unfettered immigration. So many commentors here wring their hands and decry the loss of human life. Where were you when Sudan was being torn asunder? Tens of thousands killed by their own government? What will Europe do with all of these uneducated, people? How will it affect their society in the long run?
I fully believe that Europe as we know it is gone. It will have allowed itself to be forever changed and not for the better. Terrorism will tear at the fabric of civilization. All of this because the 1% can't countenance diplomacy. I place the blame of this human tragedy squarely on the shoulders of the country who began the stone rolling. The United States. If we hadn't intervened with Iraq, and then other Middle Eastern countries, they wouldn't have become so destabilized. We have started a domino effect which will reverberate for a Long time to come.
I ask you, if you could save all of those people, only to turn around and have your own way of life, your own country forever changed. Would you still do it? Want to wake up to the Muslim call to prayer? Want to wear a burqua? I surely don't.
The problem is huge and daunting. We need to seriously think about helping these war torn countries out of their predicament. Absorption of millions of refugees is not the answer to long term stability for anyone.
JohnB (Staten Island)
Good for the Australians! They have demonstrated that despite all the nonsense we are always hearing about 10 foot walls and 11 foot ladders, it's actually quite feasible to stop illegal immigration if the government of a country is actually willing to make an effort.

Naturally this makes the Times Editorial Board really really angry! It believes, as best I can tell (and I've been reading these editorials for a long time), that Western countries have a moral obligation to allow themselves to be flooded by an endless tsunami of Third World refugees and economic migrants. The last thing it wants is the people of those countries getting the idea that they have a choice in the matter!
Lonely Liberal (Northern Maine)
What is happening now in Europe is nothing short of an invasion, without the guns and bombs. The Australians are responding to a similar event in a rational and pragmatic way. I do not condone abuse of migrants who make it ashore, but I most certainly agree with turning back all those that can be stopped, and repatriating those who get through. Large parts of the world are a tough places to live, allowing large scale uncontrolled migration will not beneficially alter the situation.
Gramercy (New York, NY)
As a European witnessing the unending arrival of refugees, it seems strange to me that for politicians the only two options are unrestricted access or concentration-like camps. As usual, lack of foresight and planning by politicians is making a dire situation even worse. And just letting people in the country, with no framework for integration, will only lead to further problems. For how long will refugees accept being in a host country but without jobs and income? For how long will merely being away from falling building and bombs be enough? Other Arab countries - the same that seem always so ready to blame the West for their ills - have done little to assist their so-called brother and it is unfair to then blame the West for actions taken to stem the flow.
Lindy (Cleveland)
The Australian policy appears to be similar to the policy of the US twenty years ago under President Clinton. Haitian boat people were intercepted and taken to Gitmo where they were housed until there was no longer unrest in Haiti. According to the NYT after the unrest ended the boat people were given $16 later increased to $80 each and told they had to return to Haiti. Europe can not be expected to absorb millions of migrants with no skills, who do not speak the language. Many of the migrants also share a culture and religion that is hostile to Western values of free speech, democracy, women's right and equal rights for all.
Kwabena Opong (Accra, Ghana)
It is not surprising Australia has adopted cruel and harsh methods to keep out migrants. Its history suggest no less. Early Europeans were welcomed by the Aborigines but they decided to rid themselves of the aboriginal vermin much like what happened in the United States. The world's rich economies forget that what they now vehemently want to prevent is what made them what they are now. And even more so the circumstances that are sending droves of migrants to Europe and Oceania are essentially the handiwork of the Euro-American leadership.
DlphcOracl (Chicago, Illinois)
There are two separate and distinct issues here which the N.Y. Times has conveniently muddled in their never-ending quest to eliminate or ignore borders, lawful immigration procedures, and the rights of individual countries to control their borders and maintain a semblance of national identity.

It is certainly not in Australia's best interests to ignore inhuman conditions at detention centers for refugees as they await deportation. However, Australia's aggressive policy of intercepting boats filled with hundreds of undesirable refugees before they can land on Australia's shores is the only way of dealing with desperate people who have nothing to lose. In reality, the refugees are engaging in an act of civil disobedience, betting that these countries will be too polite or timid to promptly expel them.

These Islamic hordes will eventually become a Fifth Column for the European host countries that refuse to show the determination and mettle that Australia has. After the refugees gorge themselves on the generous social welfare benefits being lavished upon them they will do what the vast majority of these uneducated, unemployable Muslims do - refuse to integrate themselves into Western cultures and values, look upon their values and democratic ideals with contempt, turn to crime to support themselves, and disrupt these countries with acts of terrorism.

An exaggeration?? Hardly. Just ask the average citizen in France how this social experiment has turned out.
vivvan (Seattle, WA)
Australia, in concert with other wealthy nations, has an obligation to use its vast resources to address the appalling conditions that cause people to take these desperate journeys. Like most other wealthy nations, Australia became so not merely through industry and thrift, but also through murder and theft - both with regard to its own original inhabitants, and indirectly (though no less culpably) through economic and military support of despotism elsewhere. As such, it is now morally obliged to join with other similarly situated wealthy nations to provide meaningful support of local efforts to ameliorate conditions in the refugees' source countries. This is truly the only way that this human tide can be stemmed.
Bill M (California)
Sitting in an editorial office decrying the brutal treatment of unwanted migrants is a nice way to butter up one's ego but it seems to ignore the threat involved with the world's overpopulation as well as fail to come to grips with solving the out-of-control problem of overpopulation. All the goody goody welcoming of huge numbers of migrants by German soccer clubs is a welcome touch of sympathy in a world more accustomed to beheadings. But if the initial surge of welcome gets replaced with sticks and stones as migrants become a huge burden on schools and social systems, the real problem of overpopulation may overwhelm the "Mr. Nice Guy" sentiments now being expressed. Let's quit massaging our egos and get busy dealing with the tsunami of overpopulation.
beth green (boston,ma)
Population control is all well and good down the road but it is not the relevant topic for what's going on here and now.

These people are not fleeing because of overcrowding in their homeland; they're fleeing for their lives from war torn countries and they're willing to risk those lives in an attempt to have some semblance of a future.

This world is turning into a place that I hardly recognize any longer.
Jenna Parker (Washington DC)
As an Australian, the Abbott government's policies make me deeply ashamed. Australia has long been in breach of its obligations under the UNHCR 1951 Refugee Convention. This government - and previous governments - continue to deny asylum seekers their fundamental human rights.

The appalling rhetoric utilised by these politicians to incite fear and mistrust in the general Australian public is unforgivable. Our elected officials know better. Instead of embracing vulnerable people who are fleeing persecution, they chose to continue their inflammatory rhetoric and their disgraceful and totally unnecessary policies. The hatred that Abbott has instilled among many factions of Australian society will remain one of his saddest legacies.

This government has participated in truly unconscionable acts. The Nauru detention centre is a national disgrace, and should be close immediately. Abbott's attempts to halt detention centre employees discussing the conditions on Nauru is evidence enough.

Tony Abbott is one of the most divisive leaders Australia has ever elected. His cruel policies are not representative of a nation that claims to uphold progressive, inclusive and egalitarian ideals. Australia's multicultural society is what makes it so unique and beautiful.

Seeking asylum is not illegal. It is a human right. Abbott, his government, the Australian Labor Party - and the EU - would do well to remember this.
boganbusters (Australasia)
"Military personnel force vessels carrying people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and other conflict-roiled nations toward Indonesia, where most of the journeys begin."

Legal interpretations by committee, aka editorial boards, often result in sentences like the above that confuse unsophisticated readers from where the asylum seekers and economic migrants originate immediately prior to entering Australian waters.

Indonesia is the overwhelming "origination" UN member nation preferred by people smugglers, aka snakeheads, to violate international laws by entering into Australian waters.

International law textually reclassifies forum shopping "asylum" seekers from Indonesia as economic migrants due to origination point from Indonesia.

Helps to compare with condo developments/conversions. First passenger pays for the boat, second passenger pays for the crew and a couple more pay for the extortion. Rest is profit.

$30,000 is chump change, chicken feed, penny ante to pay for boats to be displayed prominently to be moored at Indonesian snakehead docks to dissuade persons from risking consequences of violations of international laws.

US Judicial decisions re child sex slave trafficking the past generation or two is a topic for another editorial and/or comment.
James (NYC)
In the interest of balance, perhaps this article could explore why other Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand that are the overland thoroughfares to the people smugglers in Indonesia (and all have developed economies) continue to refuse to sign the UN Convention on Refugees. The same could be said of wealthy Gulf states which surround Syria.

Perhaps the article could also indicate the "estimated" number of deaths at sea (approx 1000) in in the 6 years prior to 2013 and the numbers in the 2 years since the policies were introduced in Sept 2013 (36 and none since September 2013).

What would have truly been unconscionable would have been to allow people smugglers to continue to profit on the back of human misery by placing desperate people on un-seaworthy and ill-equipped boats for a journey across a treacherous stretch of ocean.

You also need to have regard to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) regarding whistle blowing in Australia which lays out a process for public servants to report crime free from risk of prosecution.

Australia is a large country geographically speaking, with limited resources to deal with this issue. Northern Australia is a particularly hostile environment.

No one is saying that the current policy is perfect (it is hard to conceive of what practically is a perfect strategy for refugees), but at least there is a process now in place as compared with the carnage and loss of life prior to 2013.
Pax (DC)
Countries have a right and, arguably, a duty to their citizens to secure their borders agains illegal immigrants. Some countries are more lenient than others- but why have borders in the first place if you make them porous?

Australia has wisely created a nuclear free zone and the country has also given some thought to their immigration policy. Maybe they've seen the havoc that illegals have brought to their host countries elsewhere. The Australian detention centers sound bad, but their immigration policy is a sign of things to come in many other developed nations.
Jack Lee (Santa Fe, New Mexico)
Tony Abbott is a nasty piece of work.
MFW (Tampa, FL)
Well, for all of your sturm and drang, you say nothing, other than that prosperous nations should ENCOURAGE refugees to make insanely perilous attempts to reach prosperous lands. And to what end? While such an open-border policy is certainly consistent with your efforts to help Democrats with Mexican illegal aliens, it is inconsistent with the idea of a sovereign nation or meaningful borders. Just how many "prosperous" countries would be left with the open-border policy that seems to inform you muddled thinking?
Scottilla (Brooklyn)
Say it as often as you like, but illegal aliens can't vote.
Robert McConnell (Oregon)
Wouldn't it be refreshing if the US spent more time fixing its own human rights issues (solitary confinement, bail scandals, etc) and less time sanctimoniously telling other democracies how to run their affairs?
rheffner3 (Italy)
Tough call. I am kind of a left wing commie but the influx of immigrants is a big problem for the countries involved. Particularly, those that are muslims and don't assimilate into the their new country. If I was POTUS, i would open the border with Mexico and let any Mexican enter. I would naturalize the 11,000,000 illegals in the US. But for Australia and European countries now under siege, I don't think thats the answer. If I was Australia, I think I would be doing the same thing they are doing. It stops the immigrants because it stops the horrible people that are selling passage to these unfortunate people. I live in Italy and Italy has done a magnificent job of helping these folks but Italy has been left to kind of dangle on its own and eventually will have to stop and turn back the hoards.
shootmyownfood (Colorado)
Do you have any valid references that indicate Muslims don't integrate? It's like you think they just came into being a few decades ago; Muslims have been settling in varied cultures throughout the world for centuries.
Dave Holzman (Lexington MA)
The problem with opening the borders to Mexico, as you suggest, is that Mexicans compete for jobs with low/no-skilled Americans, a huge number of whom are now unemployed.

Would you be willing to take these Mexicans into your home, and support them and educate them? Our own underprivileged are essentially doing that, by losing their jobs to them.
Rich H (New York)
Why should we have to take in the on our backs indefinitely the war torn and abused? Is there no limit? To what end?
Liberty Apples (Providence)
`Down Under' takes on a whole new meaning.
RS (Philly)
Many of the migrants trying to get into Australia are from Asian countries, especially Bangladesh. Poor, yes. But not exactly fleeing war and genocide.
bob rivers (nyc)
The afghan war was what, in 2003? How come all those alleged syrian "war refugees" are bypassing dozens of arab mideast countries, and many european ones - just to get to germany and sweden? Couldn't be their welfare programs, no?
shootmyownfood (Colorado)
Please educate yourself with regard to the plight of the Rohingas in Myanmar, just for one instance.
markd (Sydney)
"especially Bangladesh" I think is not correct. Perhaps you mean Sri Lanka? A place that has more than it's fair share of war and persecution of minorities.
European in NY (New York, ny)
Sorry Editorial board, but I think Europe and US too should adopt the Australian policy, and of course, try to make the process as human as possible and avoid situations like you describe.

If we abolish borders, half the population of China, India, Bangladesh, ME and Africa will come to the most prosperous nations, over take their culture, and destroy their had worked prosperity.

I suggest to the editors who wrote this article to open the doors to their own house to all the beggars they'll see in New York from now on, take them in, feed them, close them, give them room and board, and see where this policy will lead them.
sarai (ny, ny)
A sensible suggestion. There are are plenty of people and families on our streets in need of food, shelter and employment. Let the editors of this paper adopt them before passing judgement on others.
Karen (Maryland)
You are so right. Bottom line - Australia got it right while Germany (among others) got it wrong.
Curiously, Australia isn't having a migration crisis.
Really (Boston, MA)
Also curiously, they have a relatively high minimum wage and a high standard of living for their citizens. It's just weird, isn't it?
Ted Pikul (Interzone)
Y'all sure are good at telling other people what burdens they should shoulder, from a safe distance and with no skin in the game.
Laura Hunt (here there and everywhere)
The United States has its own problems with our borders to the South thank you very much. So we do have skin in the game.
They're just as good at telling the US how to spend it's money on millions of illegals. I guess they haven't noticed the horrible traffic in many cities created by all the people in this country. Time is long overdue to stop it. 300 million is enough.
Ted Pikul (Interzone)
Uh ok Laura thanks for that...
Straight Furrow (Virginia)
So what would be "humane?" Allowing thousands if not millions to stay indefinitely based on some notion of due process - like the US?

Australia knows that mass migration is national suicide in slow motion. No matter what the Times wants to believe, there is no universal right to enter and live in another nation. Borders have meaning.

Bravo to Australia for showing some common sense.
Shoesie (San Francisco)
Allowing children to be sexually abused, providing inhumane conditions and forbidding employees to talk about the abuse is not common sense.
JJ (Stamford)
I'm sure the Aborigines agree with you. Send the Europeans back home!
iwl (Texas)
Before casting stones, the editors need to recall the glass house in which we once lived. For decades, the immigration authorities at Ellis Island turned back migrants deemed unsuitable. That right is retained by all sovereign nations. Indeed, the United Nations Commission for Refugees website states that as of 2014, there were 13,000,000 refugees worldwide and 38,000,000 internally displaced persons. Australia's population is barely over 23,000,000 and that nation is short of water even now. How many of these do the editors propose be allowed to sail on to Darwin or Perth or Sydney>

The United N
Darren S (New York)
Once again the NYT editorial board has it completely wrong - the Australian model is the best option for Europe and the morally correct one to follow.

If illegal immigrants abroad have even a small hope that they can settle in Europe, they will keep coming. The ONLY thing that will halt tens of millions of refugees that Europe cannot pay for (unless they want to spike taxes or significantly cut benefits to their citizens, or both) is to send a clear message that illegal travel to Europe will result only in being removed from EU borders.

In the long-run, if Europe does not follow Australia's lead, it will end up being overwhelmed by millions of poor, often-uneducated people who it cannot afford to absorb. Who's going to pay for their housing, their food, their education, their healthcare? Where do people think money for this has to come from? It can only come from existing citizen taxpayers.

The long-term outcome for these refugees / immigrants will be an existence where they do not benefit as taxpayer resources have been exhausted, and they will find a hostile reception in foreign lands which have not had much success in integrating refugees into mainstream society to date. This is not a good outcome for them.

Sending a clear message to the potential millions of refugees and illegal immigrants that they will not be allowed to stay in Europe without following protocol - i.e., the Australian model - is the only way to ensure Europe's future health and economic stability.
shootmyownfood (Colorado)
Are you making the assertion that putting people in detention in inhumane conditions because they are fleeing persecution is the moral way to handle refugees? I guess trying to stay alive is unacceptable if you are one of the dispossessed.
The more I read all this crazy nonsense, teh more I think Trump is right - we need to build a fence before we have even more hordes of people streaming across the boarder. Just wait until famine and water shortages hit these incapable countries. We haven't seen nothing yet.

This has nothing to do with compassion but self survival.
Lesser Panda (Delaware)
This isn't new. And this is not only limited to migrants from different countries. This happened during the Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Such inhumane treatment against others does not extend only to foreigners. This is a serious issue deeply rooted in our own nature, which only gets the spotlight in desperate times.
memyselfnI (Reno)
I'm very glad this is coming to light, thank you. I have seen the proud Australian website warning immigrants they just wont be allowed. I can only hope humans will soon address the ways they or we are so very inhumane. I also think at some point we all will have to face "huge numbers of people" being born on the planet...which only seems to drive the pressures that cause them to end up "fleeing wars and persecution." I pray we learn to work together to address global problems...because there is no fleeing them now.
schbrg (dallas, texas)
The scores of bureaucrats and journalists shaming countries to throw their door open should also give line by line suggestions what is to be done with people coming into a country with few skills and usually holding bigoted views of gays and Western women.

They should also indicate whether they are prepared in the coming years and decades to encourage these countries to accept the tens of millions who will escape their birthlands due in no small part to near-unabated fecundity in the third world given their resources.
Rick (Idaho)
Sounds good to me. Maybe they will stay put and fix their own countries.
shootmyownfood (Colorado)
Yes, all those children and disenfranchised minorities from countries where they are discriminated against should surely be held responsible for their poor treatment. Fool!
David desJardins (Burlingame CA)
It would be more helpful if the editorial set forth some alternative. It's hard to believe that open borders would work out any better.
Purplepatriot (Denver)
The borders between European countries should be like the borders between American states, practically invisible. But the European Union must have a controlled outer border just as the US has learned it must. Anything less is anarchy.
Jacob Falevich (Israel)
Taking to the account the consequences of illegal immigration and it's scale for the social and economic health of the given country, the policy of Australia does not seems too brutal. The government that do nothing facing wave of migrants entering it's national territory without permission fails to maintain it's obligation to protect the native citizens and their basic rights. I wish only that leaders of Developed World could recognize beforehand the consequences of so many Humanitarian Disasters that takes place around the Globe. Sooner or later Developed countries will suffer from the "side effects" of violence that seemingly happens far away. Recent refuges conquest of Europe is an example.
mdieri (Boston)
"people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and other conflict-roiled nations" My sympathies lie with Australia in this case. If Indonesia took steps against being used as a way station, registered and housed migrants, then Australia wouldn't have to be the bad guy. Of course conditions in the camps should be improved to eliminate abuses, but the solution is not unlimited immigration into a country with a struggling economy.
Harlemite (Fourever)
Australia has looked at the past and present. Australians, based on the realities in other nations facing uncontrolled migration, may also be horrified by the future. They see no benefit in sympathetic editorials. The tough economic, political, social and cultural logistics behind uncontrolled migration seems to weigh much heavier regarding their sovereignty and security.

Beyond the EU political posturing, politics and politricks — much of Europe will have to face the reality of major cultural and social changes within European culture. There should be no expectation that large populations of mostly Muslim war refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa will fully adopt the diverse European cultures, religions, and social standards that define Europe. The signs are very big.

More than this, not so surprisingly, there is little or no effort or pressure on the many rich Arab nations across the Middle East to accept the exodus of Muslims heading for Europe. The EU is in denial about the future chaos social, economic and religious time bombs it is setting for itself.

Read the big signs. Empathetic or sympathetic portrayals of this migratory chaos won't disguise the much bigger socioeconomic, cultural and political issues coming. Cultural distablization and disintegration are words most Europeans may be forced to accept as the new reality.

Australia sees the bigger realities, and is being proactive rather than reactive about uncontrolled migration.
Paul Ballard (Bethesda, MD)
You say : "There should be no expectation that large populations of mostly Muslim war refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa will fully adopt the diverse European cultures, religions and social standards that define Europe."

Speaking as one who grew up in Europe, but lives in the USA, and who visits Europe for several months each year, I find your remark as bigoted as it is uninformed.

Were you to actually visit London, Paris, Rome, Berlin or any major European city today, you would see how millions of people from the Middle East, Asia, Africa have indeed, for many decades now, settled and become part of European societies very successfully. Not only have they and their children and grand-children adapted to and, in later generations, fully adopted European life styles and living standards. They have also made major contributions to enriching culturally and socially the European societies they have become a part of.

It is also perhaps, sadly, ironic, that you do not seem to know or understand that a similar transformation has taken place over the past thirty plus years in Australian society. There are now millions of folks of Asian, Middle Eastern and African ancestry who live and are quite happily settled in Australia.

You may wish America to revert to being a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant society only. But I assure you there are many of us who would heartily disagree with you.

The New York Times editorial board is quite right.
M J Earl (San Francisco)
Bravo. May every leader in Europe and the Americas read this and absorb it.
Kathy Kaufman (Livermore, CA)
I find it unconscionable that a nation founded by the people that Great Britain shipped from its shores would be so inhumane to people who can only enrich this vast land. Is there no outcry from Australian citizens? Does no one care? It seems that the world has not changed since the 1930s when Jews and political refugees wee also not welcomed anywhere.
Dave Holzman (Lexington MA)
Kathy Kaufman writes: "I find it unconscionable that a nation founded by the people that Great Britain shipped from its shores would be so inhumane to people who can only enrich this vast land."

That land may be vast but most of it is hot and bone dry.