Trump to uphold refugee deal with Australia - Turnbull


"I have directed our officials in Washington DC to work with USA officials to ensure any preferential treatment extended to any other country in relation to travel and entry to the United States is extended to Australia", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement to SBS.

This made the deal with the United States a decent compromise between Australia's hardline stance and the potential for those found to be refugees being resettled in a country with the resources to absorb them, after a previous deal with Cambodia failed.

In November, Canberra negotiated a "one-off" deal with the outgoing Obama administration to settle an unspecified number of the 1,600 boatpeople Australia held in offshore processing centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The Australian government maintains that no asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia via a maritime route would ever be resettled in the country.

In what many see as a quid pro quo, Australia agreed last September to resettle refugees from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador now in camps in Costa Rica. That, he said, is for the United States to decide.

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The Australian government has still not confirmed with the USA whether Australians who also hold citizenship in the seven Middle Eastern and African nations - which the United States has deemed terrorism risks - will be barred from the U.S. for the next 90 days.

The two committed to making the long-standing relationship between the two countries even stronger and sharing the ongoing objective to defeat Islamic State.

Last week Mr Trump placed a temporary ban on refugees being admitted to the U.S. and other strict border measures targeting seven countries including Iran, Iraq and Syria. For Australia, the shift to a US administration that seeks to challenge established norms poses a major dilemma to its security and prosperity, so for Turnbull these assurance would count as both a significant win and a major relief.

There's good news and bad news as Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull discuss the impact of the President's immigration ban for Australians.

Most of the asylum seekers are Muslims from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.