It is important to remember that getting on leaky boats is not the preference of asylum seekers, it is usually their only remaining option.
Finally, demonising asylum seekers simply doesn’t work. Mass displacement events and boat arrivals are caused by events in the regions in which these people originate, not domestic political rhetoric or restrictive policies. While labelling asylum seekers as “illegal” may win votes from xenophobic voters, it doesn’t actually solve the problem.
Combatting misinformation around the demonisation of “illegal” asylum seekers is therefore crucial to pressure governments into meeting their legal and moral obligations when it comes to people seeking asylum.
To ensure the rights of asylum seekers are protected, the prevailing narrative needs to be challenged and dangerous government rhetoric needs to be called out for what it is, misinformation and xenophobia.