While Western countries worldwide are struggling with mass immigration from third world countries, Australia has taken a much harder line than most. The island nation refuses to allow the migrant boats to reach their shores, intercepting them at sea and turning them away.
Most of them are taken to nearby Papua New Guinea, or to the tiny Micronesian islands of Manus and Nauru, where they are held in refugee centers to await processing.
The message sent by Australian authorities is clear: illegal immigrants are not welcome.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is leader of the Liberal Party, and is continuing policies set by his predecessor Tony Abbot. Both men are left-wing progressives, but even so they have stood firm against the invasion of Australia by Muslims fleeing their home countries.
The United Nations has stepped into the fray, calling the conditions that refugees are held under “unacceptable”. This is presumably because they are not given apartments, furniture, cell phones, fashionable clothing, and massive food allowances like they are in most of Europe.
In early November a secretive deal was exposed where President Obama has agreed to take 1800 of these refugees off Australia’s hands. It is referred to as a “deal”, but it’s not clear what, if anything, American citizens are getting out of it.
Though the so-called migrants were deemed too dangerous to be allowed admittance to Australia, due to their connections with state sponsors of terrorism, Obama and Kerry have quietly agreed to grant them permanent residency, and distribute them throughout American cities and towns, without consulting local governments.
They had hoped to pull this scheme off without any public scrutiny, until congress found out about the arrangement through media reports in early November.
As soon as the reports emerged, two Republican congressmen sprang into action.
Senator Charles Grassley, from Iowa, is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Bob Goodlatte from Virginia chairs the House Judiciary Committee. The two joined together to send a letter to Secretary John Kerry and Department of Homeland Security head Jeh Johnson, demanding answers.
Dear Secretaries Johnson and Kerry:The letter stated that the two lawmakers had received confirmation that most of the migrants had come from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and Sudan. All of these countries have been known to harbor terrorists and finance their activities.
On November 11, a press report surfaced disclosing that the United States Government was finalizing a deal with Australia in which the United States would take refugees located on certain Pacific island nations that Australia has refused to admit. Congress learned, through the media, that the 1,800 migrants interdicted before reaching Australia’s shores, could be transferred from detention facilities in Papua New Guinea and Nauru to U.S. soil.
The congressmen were obviously not happy with being cut out of the loop in such an important matter that affects national security.
The letter continued with stronger language:
“This situation is concerning for many reasons. First, your departments negotiated an international agreement regarding refugees without consulting or notifying Congress. Such information was not disclosed to Congress during the annual refugee consultation that occurred on September 13, 2016, even though your staff confirmed that the agreement had, at the time, been negotiated ‘for months.’ Second, the agreement and the number of refugees to be resettled has been deemed by your departments as classified, thus the American people are left in the dark as to the rationale for this agreement. Third, the individuals who will be resettled are coming from countries of national security concern. In fact, two of the countries are officially designated by the State Department to be State Sponsors of Terrorism. Finally, it begs the question why Australia and other countries refuse to admit these individuals, what other countries are doing to help alleviate the situation, what kind of precedent this sets for future refugees interdicted at sea by Australian forces and prevented from entering Australia, and how a similar situation will be prevented in the future.”
“…the individuals who will be resettled are coming from countries of national security concern. In fact, two of the countries are officially designated by the State Department to be State Sponsors of Terrorism.”The letter closes by saying “…we also firmly believe the American people should be fully aware of the specific details of this agreement, and why it was done in secret. We ask that you immediately make the agreement available to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate…”.
Ann Corcoran, who runs the watchdog site Refugee Resettlement Watch, sees the letter as a good sign. She thinks that congress has been emboldened by President Trump’s election and will start taking a harder line against unlimited immigration.
“Surely these people are undocumented with only their personal stories to rely on,” Corcoran says. “But we have been transforming them into refugees and placing them in your American towns ever since the Bush Administration.”
“These are Europe’s illegal aliens and not our concern,” she added. “Just as this new batch is Australia’s problem.”
“Congress and the new president can quickly plug this hole, and we must stop these foolish ‘deals’ wherever they are occurring.”
Australian PM Turnbull says the deal is a one-time thing and will not be extended to future migrant arrivals. He told a news conference in Canberra that the DHS would be carefully screening the migrants, but with no verifiable identification, the “screening” simply amounts to asking basic questions and taking their word for it.
Turnbull also indicated that the deal was rushed through during Obama’s final days in office because President-Elect Trump would be unlikely to agree to such an arrangement. “We deal with one administration at a time,” he said.
Australia has established itself as a hardliner against illegal immigration, in an effort to prevent migrants from attempting to seek residence there.
A recently proposed bill would slap a lifetime ban on adults who attempt to come to Australia by boat, regardless of where they settle and are eventually granted citizenship. The leader of Australia’s Green Party called the idea “barbaric” but Turnbull was undeterred.
Now Just Hold On a Minute, says PM Malcolm Turnbull
“It is a critically important strong message to send to people smugglers,” Mr. Turnbull said at a news conference in Sydney. “They must know that the door to Australia is closed to those who seek to come here by boat with a people smuggler. It is closed.”
When President Trump is sworn in on January 20th, the United States may adopt a similar policy.