Eighteen Manus refugees go to the US, but no Iranians

The failure of the US resettlement deal was again on display this morning (Tuesday 29 May) as 18 refugees from Manus Island left Port Moresby for the US.

The group comprises 13 Afghans and 5 Rohingyans, all single males. Once again, none from Trump’s travel-ban group of countries that includes Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, were in the group.

The eighteen are being settled in Arizona, California, Texas, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Seventeen of the group have been waiting in Port Moresby since January; the other one since March.

Another 20 refugees are still waiting for US resettlement – half of them since they were moved to Port Moresby from Manus Island six months ago.

The prolonged waiting times are further evidence of the dysfunction that surrounds the US deal.

Since the US deal was announced in 2016, just 103 refugees from Manus and 162 from Nauru have been resettled in the US.

Hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees are left stranded on Manus and Nauru (including around 140 children).

“The US deal has degenerated into a farce. It is not even half a deal,” said Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition, “Peter Dutton has admitted that the government has no other countries for resettlement yet refuses New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 people.

“The suggestion that he would allow refugees to go to New Zealand if they were banned from ever travelling to Australia is completely vacuous. Dutton is pitching for another go at the rejected ‘lifetime ban’ bill.

“Refugees who are resettled in the US will be eligible for visas for Australia as soon as they are US permanent residents; why not New Zealand?”

“The collapse of the US deal leaves the government bereft of a resettlement option for the asylum seekers that were dumped offshore five years ago. As the toll of offshore detention mounts, it is time for the government to evacuate Manus and Nauru and bring the asylum seekers and refugees to safety in Australia.”

For more information contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713

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