Australia’s immigration minister has brought border security and immigration to the centre of the 2016 election campaign, warning that resettling “illiterate and innumerate” refugees would strain the social safety network and take Australian jobs.
“They won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English.
"These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that,” Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said when asked about the proposed increase in the humanitarian quota.
Border security and immigration are hot political issues that have swayed past elections and resulted in a bipartisan policy under which asylumseekers arriving by boat are sent to South Pacific island detention camps in tiny Nauru and Papua New Guinea and are deemed ineligible for resettlement.
The number of refugees trying to reach Australia pales in comparison to those flooding into Europe from the Middle East, and the UN has criticised its detention camps.
The conservative government last year pledged to take 12,000 refugees from Syria on top of its 13,750 annual quota.
The centre-left opposition Labor Party says it will double the annual quota to 27,000 by 2025 if it wins elections on July 2.
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