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No Right Turn: The Return Of Dawn Raids

The Return Of Dawn Raids

No Right Turn

The New Zealand Immigration Service has started a major blitz on Arab visitors and residents, even those who have been granted permanent residency or refugee status, investigating their backgrounds, and aiming to cancel the permits and deport anyone found "unsuitable". This is like a return to the dawn raids of the mid 70's - except those at least were aimed at people who were in the country illegally. Here, Immigration is targeting legal residents on the basis of race. Worse, they are judging them not on the grounds of compliance with our immigration regulations, but on political considerations. Anyone whose presence might potentially be embarrassing to the government - anyone who might be the subject of a future Parliamentary question, in other words - will be hustled out of the country regardless of whether they have complied with the law or not, using the Minister's discretionary powers.

As an example of how this leads to injustice, we need only consider the case of Zukhair Mohammed al-Omar, the former Iraqi diplomat fingered by Immigration in response to Winston's claims. According to his son he has been a diplomat since 1964, and was not appointed by Saddam's regime. And according to Campbell Live tonight, he had been granted a certificate of non-conviction by the Coalition Provisional Authority - meaning that they were satisfied that he had not participated in the numerous atrocities of Saddam's regime. In other words, he had not done anything wrong - yet he is now facing deportation.

Is this what we stand for now? Deporting people who have complied with all our laws, and who have committed no crime, simply because some politician takes objection to their presence here? Trampling our fundamental values of justice and fairness in our headlong rush to respond to Winston's xenophobic dog-whistle?

Surely we're a better country than that. Aren't we?


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