The New Immigration Bill (Your Complete Guide to Getting Deported) – Pt 4: Let’s Do The SIS Shuffle

Three long blog posts on the topic and we finally get to the meaty bit or for you vegetarians out there, the root of it, the whole reason why this new Bill has been introduced in the first place …

But first, let’s go back a few steps (cha-cha-cha!) to your arrival at Immigration. Passport in hand, dinner jacket thrown over shoulder as you try your best to emulate Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond Golden Eye era even though you’ve been wearing the same suit for 40 hours or so. The immigration officer is stern as usual but giving nothing away, except for a nano second … not even a breath in time … you see their eyes widen a little … or is that just the jet lag? You’re asked to take a seat … in a room … with a nice police woman. Hours pass, you still sit in a hard chair with nothing to eat but an ice cold sandwich that they charged you $7 because they’re calling it a panini (seriously, buy the feijoa or manuka honey vodka at duty free and grab yourself an extra large slab of dairy milk chocolate) …

My friend, what you don’t know, as you sit under the headache enducing frequency of the flourescent light, is that you have been considered a security risk. It’s possible that your icy Prime Ministerialness has called ahead to organise your welcoming party, or you have been mistaken for coming from on of the 23 high-risk countries listed by the Immigration Profiling Group (about whom there is no public information available – go google it, tell me what you get), or you happen to share a name with some other man about the town with a taste for bloodlust … who knows? You certainly won’t.

In fact, you may never ever find out what information was given, who gave it or even how is was obtained … because it’s classified and by it’s very nature, classified information is well, classified. The Bill tells us that the Minister of Immigration may used classified information in deciding your case if it in involves issues of security, criminal conduct or have “significant impact on New Zealand’s internation reputation” … clearly something the New Zealand government was thinking about when they decided to split the Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio, give them to two different Ministers and then let Winston Peters (the man whose favourite campaign themes have included Asian Invasion – stop the Yellow Peril, stop the Brown Tide, Dammit Who Let In All of Them Terrorists) loose as Foreign Affairs Minister …

It’s not all doom and gloom. You will get a summary of the allegations which does not reveal source material, where they were sourced from, how they were sourced and occasionally the content. Yes, you read that right. If the content of the summary in anyway endangers the security, defence, international relations, other Governments or international organisations and their security agencies trusting the New Zealand Government, the safety of any person, or the law … you won’t see it. If our Government is afraid of pissing off your Goverment, you’re screwed …

Should the classified information be used successfully against you in a decision you may be told that it has, but not what it is, and then you will be advised whether you have the right to appeal the decision. Of course you, or we may never know why, ever. The Official Information Act does not apply in these cases.

If you don’t have the right to appeal then see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya, your back on the next plane to the men who like to crack their knuckles in their sleep … seriously, I cannot recommend the vodka enough, it makes you nice and floppy so it won’t hurt … as much.

If you have been granted the right to appeal (that’s if you have the time to lodge an appeal, remember you can be deported 42 days after arriving in the country and while still waiting to hear about your immigration status. Refer to our last lesson – Welcome to Aotearoa for details) then a tribunal made up of at least one (but no more than 3) District Court Judge will be presented said classified information to review your appeal with. You, obviously, won’t have access to the files, neither wll your special advocate.

Think of it like this: you’re Luke on the Millenium Falcon getting to grips with your lightsabre, Ben Kenobi has lowered your blast sheild and you’re whining that you can’t see anything. Ben tells you to use the force … except, Ben is also wearing a helmet with the blast sheild down, the force is no where to be found and instead of a little droidy thing you’re surrounded by storm troopers who ain’t having nothing to do with your Jedi mind trick. So it’s nothing like Star Wars at all, you’re just blindfolded and swinging away at you don’t know what allegations that are being thrown at you …

Good luck. You’re gonna need it.


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