“The 18 refugees have gone through an independent screening process carried out by the US Department of Homeland Security and were successful. We wish them well as they rebuild their lives in the United States,” said Minister Thomas.
The departure of this 18 refugees yesterday morning has brought to total 218 who have moved to the US since the first batch departed on September 2017.
“The PNG Government is pleased to see a significant progress in the US resettlement deal and I commend the efforts made by US Department of Homeland Security in supporting PNG and Australia in resettling refugees who were processed under the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA),” said Minister Thomas.
He further said the number of refugees and non-refugees under RRA is progressively decreasing with now only 525 remaining in PNG. He added that while some non-refugees have returned voluntarily to their home country, more refugees are expected to be resettled to the United States this year.
Those that are found not to be owed protection and are not refugees are urged to return home voluntarily and move on with their lives.