US President Donald Trump was less than thrilled with the agreement Barack Obama had made with the Australian government on refugees. To say the least.
But the US has lived up to its commitment. The last four refugee children in Nauru have been flown to the US for resettlement.
And the Coalition government has now succeeded in seeing all 2000 children that were in detention in 2013 released.
Additional refugees rejected by US
While the last four children remaining on the island were reunited with their families on Wednesday afternoon, 394 asylum seekers still remain on Nauru, and 580 on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, according to AAP.
With the children and their families now resettled, the number of refugees taken in by the US, in their deal with Australia, comes to 493.
An additional 265 refugees have been assessed but rejected by the US under its extreme vetting policy.
Still, there is a celebration to be had according to Immigration Minister David Coleman, who says there were 2000 children living in detention when the coalition formed government in 2013.
‘We got them all out,’ he said in a statement on Thursday.
‘This is something the government has been working on for some time, quietly and in a way that would not impact our border protection policies.’
Dutton: The stories are worse than the reality
Some refugee advocates are worried that the US deal won’t allow resettlement for the portion that remain, and also that the government is ‘dragging its feet’ to provide medical transfers for those who are sick.
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul recently said,
‘Almost six years of detention on Nauru has created a mental health crisis on the island, and the government still has no secure future for them’.
However, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says that Australians have been ‘conned’ into thinking that medical care is non-existent on the islands — and that proficient treatment is not being provided to those who need it most.
His comment comes soon after the medevac bill was passed without the government’s support earlier this month, which made transfers to the mainland easier for asylum seekers.
In an interview with 2BG on Thursday, Mr Dutton said, ‘we’re being conned at the moment.’
‘The true story of Manus and Nauru is going to come out at some point.’
And since the bill was passed, Mr Dutton has said he has refocused, ensuring that the new laws don’t increase the people smuggling trade.
‘This is a very dangerous period in our border protection policy,’ he said.
‘It’s obvious that this message has been heard right across the region. [Bill] Shorten’s law has really had an impact across the region in people smuggler circles.’
The government is planning to defer patients from Australia’s coast by sending them to Christmas Island, but Labor is concerned with whether once relocated they will receive adequate care.
But without the deferment, who knows who we could be letting in.
But unless the US decides to lift their policies and take in more, this back-and-forth activity is what we’ll be seeing.
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