Australian PM confident Trump will honor refugee deal

Australia downplays concerns that US president-elect could scrap refugee resettlement arrangement with US

Australian PM confident Trump will honor refugee deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

Australia’s prime minister has made it abundantly clear that he does not expect the United States to renege on a one-off refugee resettlement brokered with the Obama administration when President-elect Donald Trump assumes office.

“It's a very good arrangement and we are confident that we'll continue through the change of administration,” Malcolm Turnbull said during a doorstop interview in Sydney on Sunday.

The U.S. has agreed to resettle an unspecified number of unwanted refugees, deemed “illegal” because they arrived by boat, languishing in Australia’s offshore processing camps on Pacific Ocean islands Nauru and Manus Island.

The number, yet to be confirmed, will be part of the annual refugee quota of the U.S. versus an extra undertaking.

According to Australian Department of Immigration figures, as of Sept. 30 there were 396 refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru and 873 on Manus Island.

The U.S. deal was announced Nov. 13, and almost immediately speculation was rife about whether Trump would welcome the refugees, the majority of whom are Muslims.

Trump has taken a hardline stance against Muslim immigration, vowing during the election campaign to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.

Turnbull’s statement came off the back of a comment Saturday by White House deputy spokesman Eric Schultz admitting that the Trump administration could reverse the deal.

“One of the principles that we believe in and adhere to, as does the president-elect, is that we have one president at a time," Schultz told reporters.

"So we have one president at a time, the commander-in-chief, this president sets the policies,” he said. “The President-elect Donald Trump will set the policies once he takes the oath of office.”

It appears unlikely that the refugees will be processed and relocated to the U.S. before Trump moves into the White House in January.

U.S. officials have already begun assessing the refugees.

Last month, Turnbull confirmed that officials from Homeland Security were in Australia and that they were heading to Nauru and Manus Island to determine the number of refugees to be resettled.

On Sunday, Cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos told Sky News that Australia’s ambassador to Washington, Joe Hockey, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had been speaking with "senior people in the transition team" of Trump, and that Australia would provide any further information the incoming administration needed.

Sinodisos said he anticipates the arrangement will "go ahead because I don't believe it poses any particular danger to the U.S."

Last Mod: 04 Aralık 2016, 12:14
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