Crikey journalist Tom Cowie writes:

ASIO confirms resources pressure as 900 refugees await security clearances

…. Submissions to the PJCIS review have been made by advocacy groups, including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Refugees Survivors and Ex-Detainees. Both groups said they had made myriad complaints to both ASIO and the Inspector‐General of Intelligence (IGIS) about the length of time taken to compete security checks.

But in its submission to the PJCIS, ASIO claimed that an increase in complaints about security checks did not indicate an increase in issues or failings by ASIO and could be a motivated by advocates seeking to reduce visa processing times:

“The majority of these visa‐related complaints to the IGIS appear to be attempts to accelerate visa processing times and do not indicate problems in ASIOs processes or significant levels of delay in reaching assessments.”

As of 4 February 2011, there were 6659 people in immigration detention, including 4086 being held on the mainland and 2573 on Christmas Island.

Of these, 1027 were children. More than 3000 had been in detention longer than six months.

Pamela Curr

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