Peace Time: February 12, 2002


Australia is drafting a new law under which ships entering Australian waters would have to ask permission from the Royal Australian Navy before picking up illegal immigrants at sea. Currently, many commercial ships coming across "boat people" will take them aboard and bring them into an Australian port, where they become a legal and political problem, or will allow them to get back into their boats once in sight of the shore, effectively facilitating their illegal arrival. Under the new system, the Navy will give permission to pick the people up but the merchant ship cannot dock until they are transferred to an Australian Naval vessel, which will then take them back to their point of origin. Illegal immigration has become a major problem for Australia, which is moving Army, Air Force, and Naval units to the long and unprotected northern coast to deal with the problem. As with the US, the Australians find it easier to stop the illegals from ever landing than to allow them to burden the immigration and court systems.--Stephen V Cole


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