A project of the Center for Community Change

The U.S. should take a cue from our mates down under…

As the NYTimes reported today, Australia has changed its immigration policy for asylum seekers. Under the country’s previous policy, asylum seekers who arrived in the country without proper documentation were automatically held in detention centers, sometimes for years.

Detention in immigration centers will be used only as a last resort and for the shortest possible time, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said as he announced the policy change in a speech at Australian National University in the capital, Canberra.

Children and adults who are not considered a security risk will no longer be held, Mr. Evans said. The presumption will be that they will remain in the country while their status is resolved, he said. In addition, the cases of adults who are detained will be reviewed every three months.

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