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Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Trump delivers blow to US-Australia deal

At a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday, president-elect Donald Trump named retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as his choice for secretary of defense. Photo: AP

Donald Trump told the crowd at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio that he would stop the flow of Middle Eastern refugees to America. Picture: Ty Wright/Getty Images/AFP

MALCOLM Turnbull’s resettlement plan with the US appears doomed with Donald Trump vowing to stop the flow of Middle East refugees to America “dead cold flat”.

At a 50-minute rally before a crowd of supporters in Cincinnati on Thursday, the US president-elect linked Monday’s violent rampage by Somalian immigrant Abdul Razak Ali Artan at Ohio State University to refugee programs “stupidly created by our very stupid politicians”.

Mr Trump, who moves into the White House in 50 days, said he will “suspend immigration from regions where it cannot be safely processed”. The more than 2000 refugees in detention facilities on Nauru and Manus Island are from countries including Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Sri Lanka.

“We will do everything in our power to keep the scourge of terrorism out of our country,” Trump told the crowd during his first major address since winning the presidency three weeks ago.

The President-elect vowed to halt immigration from regions affected by terrorism, which account for many of the refugees on Manus and Nauru islands. Picture: Ty Wright/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

“Just so you understand, people are pouring in from regions of the Middle East.

“We have no idea who they are, where they come from, what they’re thinking and we’re going to stop them dead cold flat.”

Mr Turnbull struck the deal with President Barack Obama but it appears unlikely the asylum seekers will be processed and relocated to the US before Mr Trump moves into the White House on January 20.

Mr Turnbull’s plan also faces opposition from Congress, with two senior members, chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley and chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, penning a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson requesting information.

They said they found out about the deal from media reports.

“This situation is concerning for many reasons,” they wrote. “First, your departments negotiated an international agreement regarding refugees without consulting or notifying Congress.”

The Australia-US refugee deal, described by Mr Turnbull as a one-off, has also become a talking point on American cable TV network Fox News.

“This is a backroom deal, wheeling and dealing with another country’s refugee problem,” Center for Immigration Studies fellow Don Barnett told “I don’t believe for a moment it’s a one-time deal.”