Trump will honor “dumb” Australian refugee deal made by Obama

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An agreement former President Obama made with Australia to take in as many as 1,250 refuges will be honored by the U.S., even though President Trump has called it a “dumb” deal.

“Let me make it clear, the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America,” said Vice President Mike Pence during a joint press conference Saturday in Sydney with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

For several year, the refugees have been held in offshore detention camps on two islands near Australia — Nauru and Papua New Guinea. It’s been reported by human rights agencies that the camps provide deplorable conditions and must be shut down. Many of the refugees are reported to be from Iran.

President Trump and Turnbull reportedly had a tense phone call about the refugees early in Trump’s term, during which Trump called the Obama deal to accept the refugees “dumb.”

Reuters reported:

Under the deal, agreed with former President Barack Obama late last year, the United States would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on South Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru.  In return, Australia would resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Pence said that the Trump administration still has serious reservations about the deal. “President Trump has made it clear that we’ll honor the agreement,” he said, adding, “It doesn’t mean we admire the agreement. Frankly, looking back on the last administration, the President has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements, most notably the so-called nuclear agreement with Iran. But rest assured, as I confirmed today with the prime minister, the United States will honor the agreement.”

Turnbull thanked Pence for honoring the agreement and gave kudos to Trump for having the “integrity” to make good on the deal.

H/T: The Hill

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