WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A report from the Center for Immigration Studies covers the asylum seeker resettlement deal the Obama administration entered into with Australia, which is currently on hold. President Trump is considering honoring the agreement, which would bring to the U.S. 1,250 detainees – mostly men (1,161 men, 49 women and 44 children) from Iran. But he questions the security risk of offering permanent resettlement to the population who refuse to return to their country of origin or to accept an offer of asylum from Cambodia.
The asylum seekers reside at Australia's offshore detention centers on the small island nation of Nauru and on Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea. The Australian government spent at least $3.6 billion on offshore processing at these detention centers between 2013 and 2016, but is now closing the facilities and hopes to transfer the costs and security risks of resettling these individuals to the U.S.
Nayla Rush, a senior researcher at the Center and author of the report said, "Convincing the U.S. to take Australia's unwanted asylum seekers would be a great achievement for Australia, but one of America's worst deals."
Although negotiations between the two governments were ongoing for months, President Obama did not announce the agreement until just a few days after the U.S. presidential election. Australia is unwilling to take the detainees as the nation follows a policy of mandatory and indefinite detention of unlawful noncitizens, including asylum seekers.
View the entire report at: http://cis.org/rush/australias-unwanted-asylum-seekers-mostly-iranians-be-resettled-us
The detainees were offered the opportunity to return home or to resettle in Cambodia. To encourage resettlement to Cambodia, Australia offered cash incentives of $15,000 per person and promises of family reunification with the same cash amount given to these family members. Five refugees accepted the offer.
Rush writes, "The refugee resettlement program is not about 'picking and choosing' one's resettlement country. Resettlement, by definition, is to be implemented when no other viable option is available. Cambodia (or other countries) might not be ideal for asylum seekers trying to reach Australia and family members already settled there. But America is no consolation prize either."
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SOURCE Center for Immigration Studies