Monday, June 22, 2015
PM Tony Abbott, photo by
MystifyMe Concert Photography
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing allegations that his navy paid off the crew of a boat ferrying migrants in order to induce them to return to Indonesia. Migrants reported seeing money change hands (A$5,000 each), and a local police officer has said that he "saw the money."
Abbott has not denied the allegations, though the country's immigration and foreign ministers have made denials.
Abbott has made a career out of the manta "stop the boats." And he boasts that his country has developed "creative strategies" to combat unauthorized migration by sea.
Paying off individual smugglers may seem extreme, but the U.S. government has certainly thrown money of its own at efforts to halt unauthorized migration.
In June 2014, President Obama met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to discuss that summer's surge in unauthorized migration. Thereafter, Peña Nieto unveiled Programa Frontera Sur, aimed to clear La Bestia (the freight trains running through Mexico) of migrants.
As reported by In These Times, the United States gave Mexico more than $120 million to support the country's new efforts at southern border enforcement.
The U.S. also sent millions to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador in an effort to "reintegrate the illegal migrants whom the United States will send back, and to help keep them in their home countries," as CNN reported.