The US, Struggling Under The Pressure Of The Coronavirus, Is Still Taking Refugees From Australia
Three refugees flew from immigration detention in Australia to start new lives in the United States this week, despite the coronavirus pandemic placing a chokehold on international resettlement.
The men, two from Sudan and one from Pakistan, jetted together from Melbourne through Qatar to the US, where they parted ways before reaching their final destinations of Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The US took them under the refugee swap deal between the two countries.
The flights went ahead despite a global pause on refugee resettlements announced by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in mid-March. The US also suspended its refugee program because of the coronavirus on March 19, with the exception of emergency cases.
The ongoing operation of the resettlement program in the US leaves refugees in Australia and its offshore detention camps who have been accepted under the program with an invidious choice: to stay in detention, where many have been for the past seven years, or start a new life in the US as it is ravaged by a deadly pandemic.
For Sali, a Sudanese refugee who landed in Maryland on Wednesday after a journey lasting more than 24 hours, the choice was easy.
“Of course there is the coronavirus, …continued .