Monday, December 13, 2004

Review of the Immigration Act

According to the six o'clock news, Helen Clark has decided to bring forward a review of the portions of the Immigration Act relating to the granting of the National Security Risk certificates. Previously the Government had decided to do so after the Zaoui case had been settled but with the resolution still at least six months away, the government has clearly lost patience.

One can tell from the statement "any law change would not apply to Zaoui's case" that the government intends to tighten up the law because if the law were to be softened, then there would be no problem with applying the changes to Zaoui. Judging from what has happened, I expect to see something like
Expanded grounds for judicial review of Refugee Status Appeal Authority decisions with the provision of introducing new evidence. If the government had been allowed to contest the RSAA's delusional findings about Zaoui's French and Belgian trials, then he would have been "outski" over a year ago.

Suspension of refugee status proceedings once a security risk certificate has been issued until the Inspector-general of the SIS has issued his assessment. Having Zaoui declared a refugee was a major pain in the arse for the government.

Explicit statements about the provision of bail, if any, and what consideration may be given to the asylum-seeker's human rights. Intended to clamp down on the judicial delays that were the prime cause of Zaoui's extended confinement. If the government is not careful, the proposals could be seen as an attack on the Supreme Court given that it has just issued its decision on whether bail could be granted and is shortly to give a decision on the proper consideration of Zaoui's human rights in the assessment of his risk certificate.
Some people have suggested that the RSAA be allowed to assess the security risk certificates as is done elsewhere. I don't see this idea is a goer simply because the government does not trust the RSAA at present.