No need to go down US road and clamp down on migrants

The immigration review signals an unfortunate extension of powers of arrest and detention to highly fallible immigration officials and security agencies, at the expense of migrants and refugees, Green Party MP Keith Locke says

“New Zealand should be a welcoming country, not one where bureaucrats have greater powers of surveillance and detention,” said Mr Locke.

“If the report’s worst options are chosen, refugees and migrants will have a lot less rights than they do now.

“There will be potential for injustice if appeal procedures are reduced.

“This is particularly true for those who have classified intelligence material against them. Under the new proposal they will be “outski” without being able to see or challenge the prejudicial material or mount and appeal.

“We have seen in the Zaoui case, and during the WMD fiascos in Iraq, that simply trusting governments and their security services to get it right is no longer acceptable.

“The review also proposing unnecessary invasive surveillance measures including identification by iris and facial recognition scanning and fingerprinting. We don’t need to follow George Bush’s America to a ‘big brother’ society.

” As a balance to the extension of these state powers, refugees should be given legal aid to challenge their detention, as former Minister Lianne Dalziel indicated years ago. I am disappointed that this balancing measure has not been addressed.”

“The new detention powers are unnecessary and worrying. The job of immigration officials is to talk to new arrivals, not act as their jailers. We want New Zealand to be known as a caring country, not one where the first people that the new arrival meets have detention powers.