By Mallory Shelbourne
May 23, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly started its “extreme vetting” process at an offshore detention camp in Australia as the Trump administration follows through with a refugee-swap deal orchestrated by former President Obama.
Reuters spoke to refugees who said the vetting included questions about family members and any potential contact with the Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (ISIS). The process also included a pledge to God to speak the truth, the Reuters report said.
Refugees said that interviews conducted on Manus Island, which is part of Papua New Guinea and one of the islands currently holding refugees who attempted travel to Australia by boat, wrapped last week.
President Trump earlier this year called it “dumb” that his predecessor had agreed to resettle the 1,250 refugees, most of whom come from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
“Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!” the president wrote on Twitter in February.
Trump’s tweet followed a report that claimed he had lashed out at Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, slamming the refugee deal, during a phone call in January.
Vice President Pence in April said the U.S. will honor the deal.
“Let me make it clear the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America,” Pence said at a press conference with Turnbull during a trip to Australia.
Neither the White House nor the State Department immediately responded to a Reuters request for comments on the report.
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