US officials to meet refugees
By CHARLES MOI
OFFICERS from the United States Department of Homeland Security are on Manus to process refugees at the regional processing centre, according to a detainee.
Kurdish Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani, pictured, told The National that some refugees received notices for the interviews with the American officials yesterday. “I don’t know exactly when they did arrive but today (yesterday) people received an interview appointment,” Boochani said.
“They are in Manus but not in the centre.” Boochani said the detainees were afraid to show their happiness at the arrival of the American officials because they were not sure if the arrangement to settle in America would eventuate.
He said PNG Immigration officials had earlier met the asylum seekers from Nepal and Bangladesh regarding their deportation.
“Immigration told them if you sign and go back, we will pay you,” Boochani said.
“If you don’t go back, we will deport you.” Boochani said more asylum seekers were given deportation papers over the weekend.
According to Boochani, two asylum seekers were given deportation orders on Thursday because they were deemed to have a negative status.
Lawyer Ben Lomai who is representing 731 asylum seekers at the Regional Processing on Thursday said he would ask the court to stop PNG Immigration officials from deporting his clients.
Lomai said the reason for an interim injunction against the deportation was that his clients had an interest in matters before the courts in PNG.
On April 26, last year, the Supreme Court ruled that detention of asylum seekers at the regional processing centre on Manus was unconstitutional.