The United States has begun the new process known as “extreme vetting” for a group of refugees being held at an island detention center run by Australia. The refugees are part of a previously negotiated deal between the governments of Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, and former President Barack Obama, Reuters reports.
President Trump made headlines in January after a reportedly tense phone call with Turnbull, where he called the planned exchange of refugees as a “dumb deal.” Both parties sought to downplay the sensational reactions in the media after the call, with Trump saying it was a “big exaggeration” and “We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have.”
The detention centers, on the islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, currently hold 1,250 asylum seekers who had sought refuge in Australia. The Trump administration caveated the deal with the promise that the refugees will undergo strict screening measures now known as “extreme vetting.”
As part of the exchange, Australia has agreed to receive Central American refugees now being held at a detention center in Costa Rica.