On April 9, the Federal Government suspended the processing of protection visa applications by Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum-seekers. This week, Julia Gillard and her Immigration Minister, Senator Chris Evans, need to decide whether to extend the suspension. There are two compelling reasons why the immigration department ought to start processing all suspended applications as soon as possible. First, as Senator Evans himself acknowledged after taking charge of the immigration portfolio, 'the impacts of [long-term detention] on both the physical and mental health of the detainees are severe'. Second, the suspension has been a smokescreen. Since April, the number of asylum-seekers who have received positive assessments has dropped substantially. The new Prime Minister must show strong leadership on the issue of asylum-seekers, Klaus Neumann writes.