Donald Trump has offered glowing praise for Australia’s hardline asylum seeker policies as he prepares to meet Scott Morrison before the G20 summit.
In a tweet, the US president cited controversial Australian advertising campaigns aimed at asylum seekers – which employ language such as “No Way – You will not make Australia home” to deter people from trying to seek refuge by boat.
“Much can be learned,” Trump said, which came before a meeting with the Australian prime minister in Japan.
These flyers depict Australia’s policy on Illegal Immigration. Much can be learned! pic.twitter.com/QgGU0gyjRS— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
Some of the images praised by Trump on Thursday surfaced in a 2014 advertising campaign that was lashed by critics as “fear-mongering propaganda”.
Australia has invested heavily in advertising campaigns – including videos and graphic novels – in attempts to deter people from boarding boats to Australia.
“The Australian government has introduced the toughest border protection measures ever,” one of the advertisements shared by Trump says. “Think again before you waste your money, people smugglers are lying.”
The campaign has drawn praise from far-right figures including the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who borrowed the “No way” slogan to launch an anti-immigration political party.
Australia’s policy says people who seek asylum by boat have their claims processed at offshore facilitiess where they can languish for years. The government refuses to bring them to Australia if they are found to be refugees and seeks to have them resettled in a third country.
Border force officials also turn back asylum seeker vessels when it is “safe to do so”. The suite of policies are regularly described at the UN as breaching international law.
Trump has adopted his own hardline immigration policies at the US-Mexico border and his administration has been accused of adopting a policy to separate asylum seeker children from their families in an attempt to deter immigrants from attempting to enter the country.
The president has sought to build a wall along the entire border, but much of the spending needed has been blocked by the US Congress.
Photographs showing the lifeless bodies of a drowned Salvadoran father and his daughter put further pressure on the Trump administration’s policies this week.
Morrison is flying to Japan on Thursday for the G20. He is expected to encourage Trump to resolve trade tensions with China at a dinner meeting on the eve of the summit.