On Saturday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that America will honor an agreement made during the Obama administration with Australia to take in up to 1,250 refugees.
Pence explained at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull,
“Let me make it clear the United States intends to honor the agreement, subject to the results of the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees considered for admission to the United States of America.”
The refugees that are set to enter the United States are currently being held in detention camps on the islands of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump and Turnbull had a phone call to discuss the refugee situation, during which Obama called the agreement made by his predecessor “dumb.”
The decision to honor the agreement comes after Trump campaigned on a hardline immigration stance. Following his entrance into the White House, Trump also came under fire for his controversial travel ban and freeze on the U.S. refugee resettlement program.
As The Hill reports, during his statement at the press conference, VP Pence made it clear that the Trump administration still has it’s reservations about the U.S.-Australia deal:
“President Trump has made it clear that we’ll honor the agreement. It doesn’t mean we admire the agreement. Frankly, looking back on the last administration, the President has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements, most notably the so-called nuclear agreement with Iran. But rest assured, as I confirmed today with the prime minister, the United States will honor the agreement.”
During his statement, PM Turnbull thanked the U.S. Vice President for honoring the agreement, claiming that the decision to do so speaks to the “integrity” of the president and his administration.