Aussie-US refugee deal not discussed with Trump

Sydney—Australia’s prime minister said Monday that an agreement to offer refugees currently detained in regional processing centers on islands in the Pacific an option to resettle in the United States had not been discussed with President-elect Donald Trump.
Since Malcolm Turnbull announced the “one-off” deal Sunday, questions have been raised about how many of the refugees detained on Nauru and Manus Island under Australia’s hardline immigration policy will be resettled, and whether the deal will endure once Trump is inaugurated in January.
“Until January 20 when Donald Trump is inaugurated, the President is Barack Obama and we deal with one administration at a time,” Turnbull told a national morning television show Mon-
day.
“The United States is not taking any additional refugees here – the refugees that they take under this arrangement will be part of their overall quota,” he added.
Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigration during his election campaign, and many of the people detained on Manus and Nauru are reportedly from predominantly Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.
Australia classifies asylum seekers who arrive by boat or plane without valid visas “illegal”.
The ABC reports that currently there are 872 people in Australia’s processing center on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and 390 people in the Nauru center. Australia’s immigration policy forbids any former Manus and Nauru detainee from ever settling in Australia.
On Monday, Turnbull said the resettlement process would “continue for some months” as the U.S. “won’t be shortcutting their security or health checks”.
He said U.S. officials would arrive in Australia this week and then travel to Nauru.—Agencies

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