Migration Amendment Bill 2024: “We have grave concerns.”

15 April 2024

Related: Advocacy, Protection
Doro refugee camp, Maban, South Sudan (Andrew Ash/Jesuit Refugee Service)

JRS Australia makes submission to Senate inquiry into Migration Amendment Bill 2024

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the deliberations of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee regarding the Migration Amendment (Removal and Other Measures) Bill 2024 (‘the Bill’).

JRS Australia made a submission amidst widely aired concerns that the Bill was rushed through Parliament without sufficient consultation or understanding about the dangers it posed for the people we serve.

In our submission to the Committee, we shared our grave concern about the sweeping scope of the Bill and its potential ramifications, including:

  • a heightened risk of refoulement;
  • deprivation of liberty;
  • separation of families; and
  • imposition of criminal sanctions and other serious harms.

These measures jeopardise Australia’s compliance with international refugee and human rights law obligations and have thrown many families into a state of fear and distress.

These measures jeopardise Australia’s compliance with international refugee and human rights law obligations.

A number of the clients we serve, and particularly those who would be impacted by this Bill, have lived in Australia for up to a decade – and sometimes longer, including time spent in immigration detention. Many have started families here, are important and contributing members of our community, and they have been left in limbo because the unfair fast-track process incorrectly denied their requests for asylum.

Under the Bill, many of our clients could be faced with an impossible decision: return to a place where they would experience harm, or face jail time for being unable to comply with their deportation. In both circumstances, we would see the cruel separation of children from their family members, and the retraumatization of a group of people who have already weathered too much injustice at the hands of the Australian immigration system.

The Bill would also provide the Minister with the power to implement a blanket ban on citizens of over 30 countries (including Iran, Iraq and South Sudan) from entering Australia on work, study, holiday or family visas.

We recommended that the Bill be rejected in its entirety.

Please see our full submission in PDF here, or visit the Senate inquiry’s website to read submissions from community organisations, people with lived experience, and legal experts across the sector.