In keeping with his election commitment to introduce tougher immigration controls to the United States, President Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from negotiations at the United Nations on a new global migration pact which encourages nations to ensure safe, orderly and regular international migration patterns.
The decision to withdraw was made so that the United States could maintain the sovereignty of its borders and its independence to determine its own immigration policy. This was outlined by the Trump Administration’s Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley “our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone” adding “we will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country”.
This migrant pact is known as the New York Declaration and was initially agreed to by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 and was supported by the then Obama Administration. The UN denied that this pact was never meant to bind member states but as is the case with such agreements they put both domestic and international pressure on member states to follow their commitments.
The declaration includes broad commitments such as protecting the human rights of all refugees and migrants, regardless of status, ending the practice of detaining children for the purposes of determining their migration status, supporting countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants, strongly condemning xenophobia against refugees and migrants and support a global campaign to counter it and finding new homes for all refugees identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement.
Given this decision of the United States to withdraw from this pact it is worth Australia considering should they do the same? Australia’s border protection policies are constantly attacked by the United Nations and its various agencies. Why should we give them more ammunition to attack us for violating supposed international laws and agreements?
Australia still attended the refugee summit hosted by the Obama Administration following the adoption of the New York Declaration and pledged to maintain our refugee quota of 18,750 people and pledged $130 million over 3 years in assistance to refugees in host states.
Given that Australia has not followed the United States in exiting the Paris Climate Accord we should not expect them to follow the US here. But make no mistake the United States withdrawing from this agreement and other international agreements significantly weakens the authority of the United Nations to interfere in the domestic affairs of all nations.