The U.S. has agreed to accept 1,800 refugees held in off-shore detention camps by Australia, according to media reports.
The two countries are expected to announce the agreement in the next few days. The refugees are primarily from the Middle East.
Coalition frontbencher Christopher Pyne said there is “plenty of time” to get an agreement in place before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
“[Immigration Minister] Peter Dutton and the Prime Minister [Malcolm Turnbull] will make the necessary announcements about Government policy in this area,” Pyne told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Turnbull refused to comment on the agreement.
“There’s always speculation about these things” Turnbull said on Melbourne Radio. “And we never comment on them.”
The refugees are currently placed in camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Australia has some of the harshest immigration laws in the world.
The government recently announced plans to put a lifetime ban on everyone trying to enter the country by sea. (RELATED: Australia Considering Lifetime Ban On Attempting To Immigrate Illegally)
Anyone caught trying to immigrate illegally is immediately place in a detention center indefinitely. the new law comes after “human rights” organizations criticized the practice.
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