Over 80 per cent of asylum seekers on their way to Australia destroy their passports before landing. Immigration figures reveal that 5,213 people who arrived illegally by boat between 2008 and 2010 had flown directly to Indonesia and boarded a boat to Australia. Only 21 of those people still had their passports with them and less than a quarter had any documentation at all.
But Immigration Minister Chris Bowen isn't worried and yesterday he said no one currently being assessed in the system had failed ASIO checks. But how can he possibly know if these people really are who they claim to be without any identification? The people smugglers tell their customers to fly to Indonesia and wait there for a boat. They needed a passport to fly there, but once on board their boat, they destroy them.
The practice of discarding documentation is routine among asylum seekers and is designed to frustrate Australian authorities trying to determine whether a person has a legitimate asylum claim or not. And it's working just fine.