Obama administration stiff-arms lawmakers questioning secret refugee deal with Australia, by Melissa Jacobs.
Nearly 2,500 refugees from terrorism hotspots around the world are bound for the U.S. after being rejected by Australia, but not even top lawmakers can get answers about who they are.
In an unprecedented move, the U.S. State Department has classified details on refugees to be resettled in America via a secret deal made with Australia. The bi-lateral agreement, which Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a “one-off,” involves 2,465 people currently being held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru who will now be transferred onto U.S. soil.
“This is a backroom deal, wheeling and dealing with another country’s refugee problem,” Center for Immigration Studies fellow Don Barnett told FoxNews.com. …
Officials, however, did confirm countries of origin to be Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Sudan, as well as some deemed “stateless.”
Iran, Sudan and Syria are the three countries on the U.S. current State Sponsors of Terrorism list. But Barnett said the “stateless” category is most worrisome.
“These could be Burmese Muslims, who have posed assimilation issues for every nation which has taken them,” said Barnett. “It’s a dangerous precedent which says, ‘We’ll take any ethnic group with which you don’t get along.’”
Australia has been under fire for paying poor surrounding island nations to house detention centers for refugees. Australia created the camps in an effort to curtail “people smuggling” and has long had a policy which prevents individuals seeking asylum from entering the country before being vetted.