End Mandatory Indefinite Immigration Detention

Immigration detention is harmful

From the Church’s long-standing pastoral work with prisoners of all kinds, we know that detention which is not linked to rehabilitation is harmful to people and should always be the last resort, even for those who have committed crimes. It is not a crime to seek asylum. In fact many asylum seekers are survivors of crimes, torture and trauma. Immigration detention adds to the anxiety and suffering of asylum seekers which often worsens their mental and physical health. Children should never be detained solely on the basis of their immigration status. Holding children in immigration detention is always a violation of the rights of the child. ACMRO advocates that no one should be placed in detention without judicial authority and a fair trial.

Isolation, time constraints and other concerns

Many of Australia’s immigration detention facilities are located in remote and harsh environments. These locations keep asylum seekers away from our community and make it impossible to provide adequate care and support. An acutely painful reality of Australian immigration detention is that it can be indefinite. The overwhelming majority of asylum seekers spend too long in immigration detention. As weeks turn into months and into years, a person’s human spirit and mental state understandably deteriorates. ACMRO advocates that people should be moved out of immigration detention environments as quickly as possible. If detention must be used it must be subject to certain time constraints and regular judicial review to ensure no one is subjected to indefinite detention.


Most Government requirements for compliance and cooperation can be met while asylum seekers are in the community. In fact, Australia already has several community-based alternatives so that people do not need to be held in immigration detention facilities. For example, bridging visas can be granted to asylum seekers allowing them to live in the community while they await the outcome of their application for protection.