The little-known Australia refugee deal with the United States made headlines recently when President Donald Trump became involved in a contentious phone call with the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The deal reached before Trump became U.S. president was the cause of the acrimony.
A report on CNN stated Trump is under pressure to reject the deal. He attempted to temporarily halt refugee arrivals and ban immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries in an executive order in January. The order was stymied by the courts earlier this year. A second order applying to six countries was issued in March. It also ran into legal difficulties.
Turnbull sought reassurance from Trump that he would honor the deal signed by the Barack Obama administration.
For his part, Trump was said to be angry about the Australia refugee deal. Sources told CNN the U.S. president described it as “a very bad deal” and complained Australia was attempting to send “the next Boston bomber” to the US.
The agreement is seen as controversial because Obama put it in place shortly after Trump won the presidential election.
Obama and Turnbull agreed in November that Australia would transfer around 1,250 refugees. They are incarcerated in offshore detention centers on Pacific islands. The leaders agreed the transfer would be administered by the UN High Commission on Refugees. Turnbull has described the Australia refugee deal as a “one-off” agreement that would not be repeated.
What Are the Nationalities in the Australia Refugee Deal?
CNN reported most of the refugees are from the Middle East and South Asia. The majority are from Iran.
Most of the refugees were detained after they arrived by boat. They were brought to Australia by human smugglers across a dangerous sea route. Thousands more lost their lives.
About 80 percent of the people in the centers are judged to be legitimate refugees.
Refugees found themselves targeted by the Trump administration.
Earlier this year, a temporary ban on the admission of all refugees was blocked by the courts along with a travel ban from arrivals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Trump was said to be working on a new ban. Those opposed to the executive orders are concerned temporary bans will effectively turn indefinite.
They believe all of the countries targeted, as well as programs for Syrian refugees and other refugees, will be unable to meet the vetting standards that Trump decides allow the temporary bans to be lifted. The seven countries in question are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.