New Group of Refugees from Manus Board Plane to the US
Fifty-eight refugees are being relocated to the United States from a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. As part of the “Dumb Deal” according to US President Donald Trump, they are the second group of refugees admitted into the US.
There are 1,250 refugees in total that will be accepted into the US, based on the deal brokered by then President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Australia will then accept refugees from the refugee camps in Costa Rica that are run by the US. Most of them would be from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Majority of the migrating refugees are from Myanmar, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. They are accepted into the country through heavy vetting procedures conducted by US officials, which include background checks and interviews. Last September, fifty-four had migrated to the US. They were then resettled across the country.
The Manus Island Regional Processing Center that was built in 2001 officially closed on Oct 31 last year. About 400 asylum seekers refused to leave the camp, resulting in a standoff. They were fearful that the new detention facility located also on Manus Island will not give them enough protection from locals. There are reports that the locals on Manus were not formally consulted either by the Australian government or the Papua New Guinea government. Human Rights Watch have reported lootings by locals.
Furthermore, in the process of relocating the asylum seekers to the next facility, police officers allegedly damaged the property, and ruined food and water supplies of those peacefully protesting against the relocation. However, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton denied such allegations.
Currently, 800 asylum seekers are held at the new detention center on Manus Island. Another 1,200 are held on Nauru Island. The largest group, Iranians, are not included in either of the groups already admitted to the US.
There are small chances that Iranians and Somalis held at the detention facilities would be accepted for resettlement in US. As part of the travel ban that took effect on December, individuals from these two countries are blocked from traveling to the US.
From the detention center on Nauru Island, 130 refugees were approved for resettlement. It is expected that 18 refugees will be migrating to the US next month. The deal brokered between US and Australia prioritizes the most vulnerable—such as children, women, and families.