Skip to comments.U.S. to admit more Iraqi refugees
Posted on 05/31/2007 3:20:30 PM PDT by Sleeping Beauty
WASHINGTON The United States will soon begin admitting a bigger trickle of the more than 2 million refugees who have fled Iraq, acknowledging for the first time the country may never be safe for some who have helped the U.S.
After months of agonizing delays and withering criticism from advocacy groups and lawmakers, the Bush administration has finalized new guidelines to screen Iraqi refugees, including those seeking asylum because helping the Americans has put them at huge risk.
The 2 million-plus people the fastest growing refugee population in the world have left Iraq, but Washington has balked at allowing them into the United States for security reasons.
Since the war began in 2003, fewer than 800 Iraqi refugees have been admitted, angering critics who argued the United States is obligated to assist many more, particularly those whose work for American agencies or contractors placed them in danger.
Now, under enhanced screening measures aimed at weeding out potential terrorists announced this week by the Department of Homeland Security the administration plans to allow nearly 7,000 Iraqis to resettle in the United States by the end of September.
An initial group of 59, including former U.S. government employees and their families, should arrive in the coming weeks, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said.
As with incoming refugees from other countries, Iraqis accepted for resettlement in the U.S. will be given assistance from government and private aid agencies, including language and job training in the communities that will be their new homes, officials said.
"America's tradition of welcoming international refugees and responding to humanitarian emergencies is unrivaled," Chertoff said in a statement. "Yet we also must be mindful of the security risks associated with admitting refugees from war-torn countries especially countries infiltrated by large numbers of terrorists."
Homeland Security officials would not discuss what the enhanced process entails, but several people familiar with the program said it includes additional interviews, biometric screening and cross checks against employer databases, none of which are necessarily required for non-Iraqi refugees.
The 59 Iraqis who will arrive soon are among a group of more than 700 considered to be the most vulnerable and for whom resettlement interviews have been conducted, the department said.
They include "persons whose lives may be in jeopardy because they worked for coalition forces," it said, without giving specific numbers of former U.S. employees.
Refugee advocates Wednesday praised the announcement but lamented that many Iraqis have been languishing in camps in other Mideast countries.
"Obviously, DHS has a responsibility to make sure that everybody who comes into the country is going to be a good citizen ... but they also realize that the country has a responsibility to these Iraqis," said Kenneth Bacon of Refugees International.
"My hope is that with this they will begin a large-scale resettlement program," he said. "We are very disappointed that there are so few now, but I have hope for the future."
Refugees International is one of several groups pushing the administration to accept at least a fraction of the Iraqis and noted that other countries, including some Scandinavian nations, have agreed to accept tens of thousands.
"It is embarrassing that Sweden is taking more refugees than we are," Bacon said. "The U.S. should be doing much more."
That complaint has been echoed on Capitol Hill where the Senate and House earlier this month passed legislation allowing a tenfold increase in special immigrant visas for Iraqis and Afghans who worked as translators and interpreters for U.S. forces.
"America has a fundamental obligation to help those brave Iraqis who put their lives on the line by working for our government," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who co-sponsored the Senate bill with Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
As of May 18, the United Nations had identified 4,692 Iraqi refugees at camps in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt for possible resettlement in the United States.
Officials said they expect that number to rise to about 7,000 by Sept. 30 and the U.S. hopes to admit as many as possible.
"We fully intend and expect to be able to handle 7,000 referrals," deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. "This is very good news that this has now been arranged."
The State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, which deals with refugee resettlement, said communities around the United States have been identified as destinations for the first batch of Iraqis but would not disclose them pending arrival.
maybe they can move in next to the Albanians and Bosnians and Kosovars.
Would you like a side of falafel with that?
I would welcome Iraqis......frankly I like most Indians and Paks and Jews and Iranians......I like most Mexicans too but I just feel we can’t let them in here free of charge anymore....its got to stop....
and I love the Russians!
I think they have three or four recent vancancies near Fort Dix - might move some of them over there - and the rest can be moved to Crawford, Texas to do the jobs Americans won’t do. I wonder how many sleepers will be arriving in the U.S. soon from the Middle East.
I’m sorry I think this country is full, shut the darned doors already!!
Their country was better with Saddam, and I loathe to say that.........but at least then there weren’t IED’s going off every damn day. Now they have to move here?????????
Sorry, I’m just tired of it all.........illegals, TB, poison in the dog food and probably my food and vitamins.......chocolate plants moving to mexico and on and on and on.
|U.S. may open doors to 25,000 refugees
|Posted by bedolido
On News/Activism 04/18/2007 9:11:56 AM CDT · 34 replies · 723+ views
washingtontimes.com ^ | 4-18-2007 | Nicholas Kralev
The United States could take in up to 25,000 Iraqi refugees this year -- more than three times the number it previously agreed to admit -- in an effort to provide some relief to the crisis affecting several Arab countries, the State Department said yesterday.
you and me both the most beautiful girls I’ve ever laid eyes on. Them and the Bulgarians too, most eastern europeans in general. I guess its the polish in me.
How many more millions will we have to admit once the Democrats pull us out of Iraq?
The word on TV today (Tucker) is that we'll be increasing that number to 100,000 Iraqis before year end. There are 2 million that must be absorbed by the world (and 4 million in Syrian camps).
Oh well. I'm off to get a pedicure at my local Vietnamese Nail Parlor...
Me too. I wonder if they'll let us ride in their taxi's?
LOL, bring your mask and Purell.
Thankfully the only taxi in this town is run by Texas folks.
U.S. may open doors to 25,000 refugees
I heard 100,000 on TV today. Gee, I hope none of them have a grudge against the United States for destroying their country ;-)
What a twisted article. They don’t just report the news, they make a glaring opinion out of it.
Who says the Iraqis are refugees “because they helped the US”?
How about, “because they are being persecuted, because their people once brutally oppressed the Iraqis now in charge”?
In other words, they are Sunnis.
Why the hell are we there if they won’t stay and fix their country?
This nation is being swamped by people who don’t have the chops to fix their own nations; what will they do for this nation?
And ERs shutting down because they use them as a primary care provider, and drunk driving mexs killing 25 Americans every day on the highways, and fat mex women changing their infant brat's diaper on the floor of Dillards, and them changing out their truck transmission in public parking lots.
I'm sick of them all.
maybe they can move in next to the Albanians and Bosnians and Kosovars.”
Already done that. Here in St. Louis we have the largest Albanians/Bosnians in the Country >100K.
The US will eventually become a Third World country.
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