Australia’s refugee deal ‘a farce’ after US rejects all Iranian and Somali asylum seekers

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Tuesday May 8, 2018

Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban is influencing Australia’s offshore processing system – with all Iranian and Somali refugees rejected for resettlement in the US.

The third version of Donald Trump’s travel ban bars or limits entry to citizens of five Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – as well as North Korea. The ban’s constitutionality is currently being considered by the supreme court but is currently in effect.
About 150 refugees held in offshore processing on the island of Nauru have appointments with US officials this week, where they will discover final assessments of whether they have been accepted by America. So far, every Iranian and Somali applicant has been rejected.

 

At least one refugee has attempted suicide after being rejected. An Iranian woman had to be rescued from the sea near Ijuw late on Monday night after being told she could not go to the US.

 

“Everyone is just thinking they have no hope,” one refugee told the Guardian by phone. “I have seen small children so distressed, a 12-year-old girl crying she is a like widow, asking what will happen to her life.”

 

The ABF has escalated its presence on Nauru for this week’s meetings and stepped up the security around the camps and the island settlements.
Iranian refugee Shahriar Hatami said the environment across the island was disruptive and distressed.
“Highly security environment again spread everywhere. In our camp a deadly [silence] is dominant.”

 

On Manus Island, the refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani said all Iranians and Somalis were fearful they would be rejected.
“There is huge worry in Nauru & Manus about US deal,” he wrote. “Many Iranian & Somali refugees in Nauru given rejection notices from US. It means US considers the countries banned. Its time for that the Home Affairs minister takes responsibility & makes his plan clear.”

The Australian government has promoted the US resettlement deal as its solution to offshore processing but, for more than a year, it has conceded that the US deal cannot clear the camps.

 

Thus far, 85 refugees have been resettled from Manus and 162 from Nauru. US officials hope to finalise the resettlement deal by October, when its annual resettlement quota restarts.

 

More than 500 refugees are expected to be left on the island of Nauru even if the US fulfils its entire

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