United States officials involved in orchestrating the Australia-US refugee deal have told Crikey that, like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), they wanted Australia to do more to resettle refugees who had family members already in the country. Unlike the UNHCR, however, they understood this would not extend to people being held on Manus Island and Nauru.  

The two former senior US government officials, who talked to Crikey on the condition of anonymity, also spoke frankly about their concern for the conditions endured by refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, and depicted this as an important factor in the US’ decision to help relocate them.