The Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is calling for a debate to tougher up the test for immigrants seeking citizenship. He wants more attention on whether they are willing to learn English, have their kids educated and a means of assessing their likelihood of receiving welfare. OK, so let’s break this down a bit. First of all, there’s already a test in Australia as there are in other countries. There’s also a perception by some politicians that terrorism is linked to immigrants and their unwillingness to integrate into society. Call this for what it is – BS. It comes across as another lame attempt by a politician to pander for votes from anywhere they can. It also comes across as an example of a politician that is supposed to know something and support their portfolio and instead has an alternate agenda of being hostile to it. How do we see this? Well look at what Dutton is presupposing about immigrants based on his test requirements: immigrants have no desire to learn English, won’t educate their kids, and they go on welfare. But wait! Dutton doesn’t just want a “trivia” kind of test, he wants one focusing on Australian “values.” So instead of a useless trivia test, he wants a useless and imaginary “values” test. How do you define Australian values exactly? Well, Dutton seems to know, you define them as he defines them which would be according to a well-off, white, Australian male who appears fearful of immigration and is an Immigration Minister. All of this isn’t new, and neither is his xenophobia, disguised as concern for a useless test (of whatever kind). It also appears to demonstrate how some politicians seem to think they know much about terrorism and immigration when they don’t. Canada has politicians spouting similar nonsense. Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, a pediatrician turned expert on immigration and culture, also wants a test for Canadian “values.” Leitch can imagine and pretend with the best of them! Here’s a test, give these tests to the domestic population and see how well they score (especially on English proficiency). Countless immigrants have entered Canada over the years with poor English skills and helped build the country. Any child of immigrants from Europe over the decades can ask their parents about how well they spoke English when they arrived. Did the parents of these children of immigrants, who are now second, third or fourth generation Canadians, understand Canadian “values” when they first arrived?”

This is all about a mixture of fear of immigration and a fear that’s been propagated since 9/11 that immigrants bring terrorism. Looking or testing for radicalization has nothing to do with whether or not an immigrant can tell you how many seats there are in the House of Commons and it’s not something limited to immigrants. Social isolation, interests in extremism, relationship with family and friends, these are better indicators of whether someone is moving toward something they shouldn’t and it’s best left to intelligence experts and analysts not politicians who have either no ability or interest in creating good policy and instead need some issue to make needless noise come out of themselves. My dog barks too when strangers come to the door but is quite happy to see them when they come in, xenophobic and racist politicians take note.

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