Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hundreds of Middle Eastern refugees refused entry into Australia on security grounds

Hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees bookmarked for resettlement in Australia have been refused entry on grounds of national security, it was revealed on Thursday, after security networks discovered their names were on an international watch list.

Overnight, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed that around 10,000 of the 12,000 refugees fleeing war in the Middle East had been successfully resettled in Australia, but a senior security source told News Corp that more than 500 potential refugees had been refused entry for their involvement in "criminal and other" activities.

The source said the refugees were refused entry after the Five Eyes intelligence network alerted Australian authorities.

"All matches identified were rigorously examined and where potential risks were identified these individuals were not granted a visa to Australia," the source told News Corp.

"Of the biometric checks approximately 500 were a preliminary adverse match, that is, the person's name was recorded on a watch list."

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who has previously been criticized for the slow nature of the government's resettlement program, said his decision to vet the candidates thoroughly had been "vindicated."

"I was adamant from the outset that there would be no compromise on national security -- despite calls to abandon process and just fill the numbers," Dutton told News Corp.

"I was criticized about why the program was so slow and why we weren't quicker in bringing these people in. Well, frankly, I think our position has been vindicated.

"The robust processes have also helped protect the Australian community from those who may have wished to do us harm by exploiting our generosity."

He added that it was a "great outcome" that almost all of the 12,000 refugees had been resettled in Australia, even if it had taken time.

"It is a great outcome that 12,000 of the most vulnerable people from the region, many of whom have been through the most harrowing of experiences, are now able to start new lives in Australia with their families," he said.

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