U.S. and Australia Might Be Close to a Deal on Refugee Swap
Australia and the Obama administration are reportedly nearing a deal to help clear each country#8217s extraterritorial refugee centers.
Speculation has been growing about a deal since Sept., when Australia announced at President Barack Obama#8217s global migration summit that it would resettle migrants from U.S.-backed detention camps in Costa Rica in exchange for the U.S. taking in refugees living on Australia#8217s Pacific Islands, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Australia has some 1,800 asylum seekers in camps on islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, many of whom have fled conflict or economic strife from Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Critics have called these camps Australia#8217s #8216Guantanamo Bay,#8217 following allegations of inhumane treatment.
The need to resettle refugees has become more urgent, following Papua New Guinea#8217s order to close the Australian-run detention center. Australia has refused to give the detainees asylum due to its tough border blockade policy, which rules that no asylum seeker who has arrived since the law was passed can settle in the country.The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. View Sample Sign Up Now
According to the WSJ, both the Australian and U.S. government have declined to comment on the deal.
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