Even New York Times readers don’t want Australia’s refugees

“Australia’s Desperate Refugee Obstinacy” shows that Roger Cohen and his colleagues are brave enough to sit in the Manhattan offices of the New York Times and denounce the hard-heartedness of people on the other side of the planet. What’s interesting, though, is the Readers’ Picks section among the comments. It seems that even the loyal Hillary supporters who read the New York Times aren’t supportive of taking in these “asylum-seekers and refugees.” (I put in my own comment, making my standard offer:

If Mr. Cohen would like to house one of these families in his apartment or house for at least one year, I’ll be happy to pay for the airfare from Nauru.

So far Roger Cohen hasn’t emailed to accept.)

The top pick:

I believe these refugees are predominantly from the Middle East, hence they had to travel through SE Asia, eventually to Indonesia, in order to board the rickety boat that people smugglers are using.

I know people here won’t like me for asking this, but I genuinely wonder if they couldn’t stay and feel safe in any of the countries they passed through, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore or Brunei? If your only concern is flight from danger present in your native land, then any of these countries would have been enough to provide that sanctuary until events settled back home. But they had to come to Australia, after paying close to $10,000 to people smugglers. I genuinely wonder, if their motive wasn’t to improve their lot in life by coming to a wealthy democracy, why do they do this?

Another highly voted one:

Iran is not at war, and these people are not escaping persecution. They just want a better standard of living, but couldn’t get to Australia by legal channels. Why should Australians let them in, just because they tried to sneak in through the back door? How is this fair to people who emigrate legally? Pushing to the front of the queue should not be rewarded.

Separately, I wonder if the Great Migration of the 21st Century is going to relieve some of the media pressure on Israel. If scolding other countries for their resistance to immigration consumes the average journalist’s sanctimony budget, how much will be left over to complain about what Jews in Israel are doing?

8 Comments

  1. Vince

    August 10, 2017 @ 5:27 pm

    1

    You’re got a bunch of interesting stuff here again.

    It seems that even the loyal Hillary supporters who read the New York Times aren’t supportive of taking in these “asylum-seekers and refugees.”

    I didn’t see any mention of Hillary Clinton in the comments.

    I know people here won’t like me for asking this, but I genuinely wonder if they couldn’t stay and feel safe in any of the countries they passed through, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore or Brunei?

    None of those four countries are signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention. In other words, they haven’t made a commitment to take refugees, which Australia has.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_Relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees

    Iran is not at war, and these people are not escaping persecution.

    This commenter can’t possibly know that none of the Iranians on Manus and Nauru are not escaping persecution. He can’t possibly know the situation of each and every one of them. It’s well known that the Iranian government persecutes many of its citizens.

  2. GermanL

    August 10, 2017 @ 6:02 pm

    2

    @Vince, yes but there are 145 signatories to the refugee convention. Why not Mexico? Turkmenistan? Tajikistan? Why Australia?

  3. Jack

    August 10, 2017 @ 8:24 pm

    3

    Very astute, Vince. Phil’s picking on Hill without cause and hasn’t even bothered to read the 1951 Refuge Convention. He also doesn’t know or as you put it “can’t possibly” know anyone from Manus and Nauru (must admit i don’t either). Phil i think you need to fess up to Vince, here. Do you know anyone from Manus and Nauru or don’t you? Have you read the 1951 Refuge Convention or haven’t you?

  4. Vince

    August 10, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

    4

    Reading the treaty isn’t necessary. It’s quite easy to look up which countries have signed it,

  5. Vince

    August 10, 2017 @ 9:46 pm

    5

    Jack: To be more specific, Phil quoted a commenter who asked this question:

    I know people here won’t like me for asking this, but I genuinely wonder if they couldn’t stay and feel safe in any of the countries they passed through, such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore or Brunei?

    The answer to that question is that none of those four countries have signed the convention.

    Also, I happen to know an Iranian-American family who live in northern California. They were persecuted because they practice the Baha’i religion and left Iran some time around 20 – 25 years ago. A quick Google search show news that it was still a problem for that community a few years ago. There are other stories about political dissidents. It’s quite reasonable to assume that there’s plenty of persecution going n currently in Iran.

  6. philg

    August 10, 2017 @ 10:23 pm

    6

    Jack: I don’t know anyone who is imprisoned on these islands. And it hadn’t occurred to me to look at that Wikipedia page on the treaty until now (remember that I cut and paste that comment from the nytimes.com site; it wasn’t my own observation). Now that I look at the treaty, it seems that Iran is a signatory. So the Iranian refugees could take refuge… in Iran. To Vince’s point that the Iranian government is in the persecution business… most of my exposure to news about Iran has been from the U.S. media and Iran has been at odds with us, so I don’t trust what I have read. Does Iran run a larger prison system than ours, either in absolute numbers or on a per capita basis? If not, I would hesitate to say that they are less free than Americans.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate suggests that the Iranians imprison their fellow citizens at less than half the rate that we do here in the U.S.

  7. philg

    August 10, 2017 @ 11:09 pm

    7

    (Separately, Hillary is mentioned because Americans lack coherent political parties and political philosophies. Thus the only way to characterized the political sentiments of a group, such as NYTimes readers, is to say for whom they voted. Look at the inability of “Republicans” to agree on cutting health care spending. There is no philosophy around governance associated with “Republican,” so a senator from a state where a lot of people are on Medicaid will vote for expanded federal cashflow. Similarly, a “Democrat” in a state with a lot of military bases will vote for increasing military spending, though others in the party might say “let’s cut military in favor of welfare.”)

  8. Joseph Hertzlinger

    August 11, 2017 @ 2:22 pm

    8

    That proves immigration restrictions are a left-wing idea.

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