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Officials from the U.S Department of Homeland Security are set to begin fingerprinting refugees on Manus Island and Nauru in preparation for resettlement in America under the US-Australia refugee deal.
In a document supplied to refugees on the islands, the State Department-funded Resettlement Support Centre detailed the process from now on for refugees who had been referred for consideration for transfer to the US.
It said officers from the Department of Homeland Security would be on Manus and Nauru during April, fingerprinting those who had expressed an interest in US resettlement.
Refugees will also be subjected to a security assessment, further interviews and medical checks before their applications are considered.
The ABC understands that of roughly 900 refugees who may be under consideration on Nauru, around 600 had first interviews conducted by officials from the US resettlement team based in Bangkok in December and January.
Most of the people interviewed are from Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan.
Of around 600 who may be eligible on Manus Island, around half had first interviews during the same period.
Although around one third of the refugees on Manus Island are from Iran, only about 10 per cent of those interviewed were Iranian.
The document provided to the refugees appeared to attempt to allay the concerns of those who have not yet been spoken to.
“Your application will not be forgotten or lost. All cases are different and will move through the resettlement process at different speeds. Do not worry if your friends and acquaintances move on to additional steps of the process before you,” it said.
President Donald Trump has declared the arrangement a “dumb deal”, but has grudgingly agreed to proceed with the plan brokered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Government and former president Barack Obama.
Trump's controversial executive orders on immigration allow for "pre-existing international agreements" to be honoured, but have likely slowed the implementation of the deal due to confusion about new "extreme vetting" requirements and what they involve.
“You will be asked to swear under oath that everything you say in this interview is true,” the document given to refugees said.
“Failure to tell the truth can result in the denial of your application.”
In a statement the Department of Homeland Security said: "Any refugee cases referred to DHS for refugee resettlement consideration will be interviewed and undergo security vetting consistent with the law, including and executive orders and court orders."
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