Has Australia inked a deal with U.S to resettle refugees?


The opposition center-left Labor Party criticized a previous deal struck between Australia and the United States in 2007 to swap refugees, arguing that the prospect of USA resettlement would attract more asylum seekers to Australian shores.

A deal to resettle about 1800 refugees and asylum seekers held in Australia's offshore detention centres is reportedly close, with the U.S. agreeing to take detainees after Australia said it would accept Central American refugees held in US-assisted Costa Rican camps and fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Dutton also refused to confirm talks had been under way with any specific country in recent months, but United States officials suggested there had been discussions involving them.

"There is always speculation about these things and we never comment on them".

The apparent immigration deal comes after months of negotiations between the Australian Government in Canberra and the Obama-administration in Washington.

"We are working actively on those arrangements. today we are closer than what we were yesterday", he said.

Australia's last deal to settle refugees in a third country collapsed earlier this year when the most of the refugees who were resettled made a decision to return to their home countries.

The Hondurans and El Salvadoreans in the Costa Rica camp would be assessed under the little-used "In-country Special Humanitarian visa (subclass 201)" because they have been removed from their own country by the USA and are only considered to be "in transit" in Costa Rica, Mr Manne said.

Cabinet Minister Christoher Pyne didn't confirm the report on Friday, but did note there was plenty of time before Trump's inauguration to make an announcement.

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"There certainly is time - two and a half months is plenty of time - and if that's the case, it will be a great achievement for the Turnbull government", Pyne told Nine Network television.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said: 'These are people who are refugees, who have been found to be refugees, who, if they are settled in a country like the United States, that will be a good thing'.

"These are people who are refugees, who have been found to be refugees, who, if they are settled in a country like the US, that will be a good thing, " Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.

"I'm sure they'll come to government at an appropriate time", she told ABC radio.

Senator McKim said Mr Trump could overturn the plan when he took office, leading to more chaos in Australia's immigration regime.

The deal to close Australia's refugee camps, which have existed for more than two decades, would allow the United States to close camps in Costa Rica filled with refugees fleeing violence in Central America, all of whom would be sent to Australia to settle there.

Australia's offshore detention system would be shut down before the next federal election under a series of worldwide deals.

Under that deal, up to 200 refugees a year held on Nauru could have been swapped for Cubans and Haitians intercepted at sea while trying to get to the U.S. and held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Human rights groups have criticised the Australian government about the conditions for refugees and asylum seekers in the camps, saying it was cruel and amounted to torture.