Australia’s department of immigration and border protection secretary, Michael Pezzullo, had a secret visit to the US to talk with president-elect Trump’s advisors about the refugee deal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull struck with outgoing president Barack Obama.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Pezzullo was there to offer detailed briefings on Obama’s offer to take an undisclosed number of refugees from Australia, and provide broader context about the country’s border protection program Operation Sovereign Borders, introduced under Tony Abbott.
It comes after concerns that Trump could reject the agreement, and after senior US Republicans demanded the Obama administration make public information about the “secret” deal supposedly secured with the Turnbull government.
The one-off deal could see as many as 1600 asylum-seekers from Nauru and Manus Island resettled in the US, in a bid by Australian officials to close offshore detention centres.
In preparation, the US Department of Homeland Security officials have landed in Australia to begin vetting applicants. as refugees will need to pass US health and security checks.
The first refugees are expected to head to the US in early 2017.
The SMH has more.
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