Open up the borders - TIMES, THE (First Edition) 08 Feb 2011

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Open up the borders National debate on immigrants is vital, writes Nkosikhulule Nyembezi.

One of the most important steps forward President Jacob Zuma could take when he addresses the nation this week is to introduce a meaningful national debate on our flawed immigration policy. It's a conversation that we can no longer avoid, involving matters of deep introspection, questions about who we are as a country and how we identify ourselves as in-dividuals. And it is an issue that urgently needs clear and decisive leadership. Civil society organisations such as the Black Sash have consistently argued that our current immigra-tion policy needs to be underpinned by a rights-based management of asylum seekers, refugees and work seekers. It also needs to focus on the efficient movement of skills to promote national and regional de-velopment. This is particularly ur-gent given the recent policy ini-tiatives to revive the economy and the high levels of prejudice against foreign nationals.

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