U.S. set to ac­cept refugees with­out thor­ough vet­ting

Trump called Obama-era deal with Aus­tralia ‘dumb’ be­fore re­lent­ing.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Pres­i­dent Trump is pre­par­ing to ac­cept hun­dreds of refugees from Iran and other ter­ror­ist-con­nected coun­tries, tak­ing them from camps be­ing main­tained by Aus­tralia un­der a deal his pre­de­ces­sor struck, with­out putting them through the long vet­ting that usu­ally takes place, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port be­ing re­leased Mon­day.

Some of the refugees have tried to cleanse their so­cial me­dia pres­ence to try to delete red flags that could cost them their chance to come to the U.S., the Cen­ter for Im­mi­gra­tion Stud­ies re­port con­cludes.

A stag­ger­ing 88 per­cent of the refugees have some level of men­tal ill­ness or dis­or­der, ac­cord­ing to a U.N. health in­spec­tion last year. And the cen­ter’s re­port doc­u­ments in­ci­dents of rape and sex­ual as­sault per­pe­trated by the refugees on lo­cals.

Aus­tralia has been look­ing for a land­ing place for the refugees for years, and Pres­i­dent Obama agreed to take them. Mr. Trump crit­i­cized the “dumb” deal in Fe­bru­ary, and shared a testy phone call with Aus­tralia’s prime min­is­ter, but has since re­lented and is mov­ing quickly to wel­come the refugees.

Usu­ally pro­cess­ing refugees takes up to 24 months, but an­a­lysts said the process for this set is likely to be eight months, with the first due to ar­rive by late Septem­ber.

“The process is well un­der­way,” Nayla Rush, a se­nior pol­icy an­a­lyst at the cen­ter, says in the re­port.

The refugees tried to reach Aus­tralia but were in­stead de­toured to camps on Nauru and Manus Is­land north of Aus­tralia. The “vast ma­jor­ity” are Ira­nian — one of the coun­tries Mr. Trump has specif­i­cally sin­gled out as a trou­ble spot in his ex­treme vet­ting poli­cies. Oth­ers are from Su­dan and So­ma­lia, which are also on the list.

Aus­tralia says it has as­sur­ances the deal won’t be af­fected by Mr. Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der at­tempt­ing to halt refugee ad­mis­sions and ban­ning en­try to most vis­i­tors from Iran, Su­dan, So­ma­lia, Syria, Ye­men and Libya.

Some 850 refugees have been iden­ti­fied by the U.N. as can­di­dates for re­set­tle­ment in the U.S., and Amer­i­can of­fi­cials are now go­ing through that list and do­ing their own re­view.

Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials be­gan in­ter­views in May, with de­ci­sions on the first group of 70 peo­ple ex­pected in weeks.

In ex­change for the U.S. tak­ing the refugees off its hands, Aus­tralia has com­mit­ted to tak­ing sev­eral dozen Cen­tral Amer­i­cans who are in Costa Rica, hop­ing to make their way north to the U.S.

Ms. Rush said she can un­der­stand Aus­tralia’s think­ing, but won­dered what the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion saw in the deal —and why Mr. Trump, who was ini­tially crit­i­cal, has now re­versed him­self.

“What is hard to com­pre­hend is Pres­i­dent Trump’s agree­ment to move ahead with this deal,” she wrote.

She said mem­bers of Congress have tried to pry loose more de­tails on the refugee deal, with­out suc­cess.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.