Someone with a generalised suspicion of foreigners would take a hard line on unauthorised arrivals (to use a more neutral term). But it far from clear that a hard line on unauthorised arrivals requires a xenophobic attitude.
If we cross-tabulate responses to the proposition ‘Immigrants who are here illegally should not be allowed to stay for any reason’ with other questions in the Australian Election Survey 2007 we can see how attitudes do not always line up in the way predicted by the they-are-all-xenophobes analysis. For instance:
28% of those who thing legal migration should be increased also favour a hard line on illegal migration.
50% of those who think immigrants make Australia more open also favour a hard line on illegal migration.
25% of those who think that equal opportunity for migrants has not gone far enough favour a hard line on illegal migration.
28% of those who think immigrants deserve more government help favour a hard line on illegal migration.
Some of these are fairly small percentages of the whole sample, but it is another reminder that public opinion rarely matches the categories used by intellectuals and activists to analyse the world.
The average opinion poll respondent would not see any inherent inconsistency in wanting migration controlled or reduced and welcoming migrants who do arrive in the officially sanctioned way.
Indeed, apart from some libertarians and human rights groups, few people want uncontrolled migration to Australia. Some degree of deterrence and punishment is therefore required, for those who decide to come to Australia whether inivited or not. There is room for a far less moralised debate about how tough the policy to enforce border control needs to be.