A defining aspect of national sovereignty is that nation states have the right to determine which people are permitted to come within their geographical borders. Individuals, like nations, appear to be inherently territorial. In addition to this, a defining aspect of many people's personhood (their core identity) is the place where they were born or live.
Despite the disparate range of interests and projects that individuals have and pursue, there are basic goals that communities invariably share. Thus, in Australia, the current generation (building on the work of earlier generations) has committed enormous resources to building state institutions (such as our political and legal system), hospitals, schools, roads and recreational and sporting amenities and facilities.
These common projects serve to entrench our feeling of community. We also come to share some fundamental values and beliefs.
Immigration policy and law is concerned with setting the parameters by which ‘foreigners’ (or ‘aliens’ as they are called in the Commonwealth Constitution) come to share our community, enjoy our resources and become exposed to our culture and values, whether permanently or for a shorter period. It is, thus, inherently controversial. Limits seemingly need to be placed on the numbers and types of people who can come to Australia.
This book examines the way in which Australia currently responds to this challenge. It is divided into two main sections. The first eleven chapters examine migration law. The next seven chapters look at refugee law.