9 Feb 2017

US officials stop screening, leave Nauru

8:16 pm on 9 February 2017
An aerial view of Nauru

An aerial view of Nauru Photo: RNZI

The Australian government says United States officials have stopped screening refugees from Nauru for potential resettlement in the US.

But the AP news agency reports the officials will return to Nauru to continue working on a deal President Donald Trump calls dumb.

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would not say when US Department of Homeland Security officials would return to Nauru or to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to conduct what Mr Trump calls "extreme vetting."

Mr Trump made enhanced screening a condition for agreeing to honour the previous administration's deal to accept up to 1,250 refugees refused entry into Australia.

US officials were sent to Nauru within days of the deal's announcement in November after the US presidential election but they left this week with future arrangements under a cloud.

Mr Dutton could not tell AP whether any of the 1,600 refugees at Manus and Nauru would pass the new US vetting regime.

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