It’s been years since Australia began indefinitely detaining innocent people on Manus Island and Nauru, and, as to finding a permanent location, we’ve since invited refugees to either stay there until they died from treatable diseases/suicide, go back to wherever they’d risked their lives escaping from, or move to noted human rights wonderland, Cambodia.

So when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announced a one-off refugee deal with the US in November, the future looked suspiciously bright for the 1,262 folks we’ve been categorically torturing.

Looks Like The Manus / US Refugee Deal Is Still On Despite Trump’s Election

And while the general consensus has been that Donald Trump’s election win would doom the plan to obscurity, reports that US officials have visited Manus Island to speak with refugees suggest that, at least superficially, it’s still on track.

Along with Australian immigration officers, a US official visited the detention centre on Friday, mere hours before Trump’s inauguration, and told refugees that interviews for potential resettlement would begin in February. 

Officials had already visited refugees on Nauru, but that was over a month ago and well before Trump’s official era.

Naturally, refugees on Manus are hopeful about the proposed deal but wary of how realistic it’ll play out. Presumably because of all that torture they’ve endured. Speaking to The Guardian,’ Rohingyan refugee Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque said:

“It is extremely hard to believe anything in this forsaken prison, as we have always been used as pawns in political games.”

“Although we have been told all of this, we will not believe anything until we see some kind of action. All we have is hope and we pray that we will be able to experience our freedom soon.” 

And while the apparent confirmation of the deal is heartening, we absolutely do need to take the news with a grain of salt. 

For starters, Sky News cited US officials in November saying that the country would only accept 400 refugees, which is about a third of current detainee estimates. And while the Australian government rejects Sky’s report, they’ve since provided no guarantee on numbers. 

Members from the Republican party have also denied that the deal will happen at all, and Trump himself has yet to speak on it. Earlier this month, US congressman Brian Babin said:

“I am confident President-elect Trump will do everything in his power to put an immediate stop to this secret Australian-US refugee deal that should have simply never happened in the first place.” 

“It was made behind doors without any input from Congress. In fact, when Congress asked for details on the agreement and the refugees, the Obama administration refused to share the information.”

“This secret deal to import dangerous refugees into the US is exactly what the American people soundly rejected in November with the election of Donald Trump.”

While Babin is absolutely wrong in describing these people as dangerous (the vast majority have been proven to be refugees), he’s right that it’s against Trump’s special brand of nationalism to accept them. Especially when Australian politicians have worked so hard to paint refugees as both illiterate dole bludgers and job-theives.

Still, dare to dream eh?

Source: The Guardian.

Photo: Getty / Handout.