I’ve been meaning to write a post about Kevin Andrews’ recent decision to reduce the share of refugees coming to Australia from Africa (and, conversely, to increase the share of non-African refugees, since the total intake is staying constant). In general, it seems reasonable to me that our decision on whether to take a refugee should be based in part on their ability to assimilate, but this seems to be a case of statistical discrimination, in which a characteristic of some in a group is ascribed to all. So for example we get the perverse result that the minister talks about assimilation problems for young African men, but the ban would also extend to a Sudanese woman who had been the victim of rape in Darfur.
All of which made me wonder whether perhaps the department should be thinking about ways of dropping the country quotas for refugees, and developing universal worldwide standards. We basically did this for skilled and family migrants in the 1960s, and it seems strange that we still have country quotas for refugees today.