The US government has publicly said it will resettle up to 1,250 refugees from Australia’s offshore detention islands of Manus and Nauru, but stressed they will all undergo “extreme vetting” before being accepted.
Sean Spicer, White House spokesman for the new president, Donald Trump, confirmed the deal – brokered by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama – would be honoured, and for the first time, confirmed the number that could be accepted under the plan.
“The deal specifically deals with 1,250 people, they’re mostly in Papua New Guinea, being held,” Spicer told a White House briefing. “Those people, part of the deal, is that they have to be vetted in the manner that we’re doing now.
“There will be extreme vetting applied to all of them as part and parcel of the deal that was made, and it was made by the Obama administration with the full backing of the United States government. The president, in accordance with that deal, to honour what had been agreed upon by the United States government … will go forward.”
However shortly after the briefing the ABC reported Spicer had been contradicted by a White House source who said the president was still considering the deal.
The White House has been contacted for clarification.
A spokesman for the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said the government “is dealing with the comments that have been made on the public record by the White House”.
Currently, there are about 1,600…