Nearly 2,500 refugees from terrorism hotspots around the world are bound for the U.S. after being rejected by Australia, but not even top lawmakers can get answers about who they are.
In an unprecedented move, the U.S. State Department has classified details on refugees to be resettled in America via a secret deal made with Australia. The bi-lateral agreement, which Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a “one-off,” involves 2,465 people currently being held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru who will now be transferred onto U.S. soil.
“This is a backroom deal, wheeling and dealing with another country’s refugee problem,” Center for Immigration Studies fellow Don Barnett told FoxNews.com. “I don’t believe for a moment it’s a one-time deal. That’s for public consumption.”
The move has also raised a red flag among Congressional oversight members.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry, key lawmakers Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., complained about the lack of transparency.
“This situation is concerning for many reasons,” read the letter, charging that “your departments negotiated an international agreement regarding refugees without consulting or notifying Congress.”
Screeners from the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services are set to leave for the Pacific Island nations next month to begin vetting the refugees.