Top U.S. lawmakers have been unable to get more information on nearly 2,500 refugees who are headed to America following a secret deal made by the Obama administration.
The U.S. State Department has now classified details on a bi-lateral agreement with Australia to accept the refugees from known terror hot-spots, Fox News reported. Australia rejected the 2,465 people currently being held in Papua New Guinea as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called their transfer to U.S. soil a “one-off.”
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“This is a backroom deal, wheeling and dealing with another country’s refugee problem,” Don Barnett, a Center for Immigration Studies fellow, told Fox. “I don’t believe for a moment it’s a one-time deal. That’s for public consumption.”
Key lawmakers Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., fired off a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday charging that the secret deal was made without consulting Congress.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Services screeners will begin vetting the refugees next month, according to Fox. Though information about refugee admissions is normally public, staffers were told the number of those set for U.S. resettlement was “classified.”
Officials did confirm that the refugees would be coming from the nations of Iran, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Sudan. Some, however, were deemed “stateless.”
“These could be Burmese Muslims, who have posed assimilation issues for every nation which has taken them,” Barnett said. “It’s a dangerous precedent which says, ‘We’ll take any ethnic group with which you don’t get along.’”
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Although Grassley-Goodlatte committee representatives will receive a classified briefing on the deal next week, according to Fox, questions on the lack of transparency may never be answered given the Obama administration’s track record.
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