JPANet: Post-Iraq, Don't Abandon War Refugees
President Obama is
promising all U.S. troops will leave Iraq by the end of this year. As our
nation looks forward to welcoming our troops home and ending this chapter of
U.S. military engagement, we must not forget the more than a million refugees
who fled the fighting in Iraq and still cannot return home, and the
thousands more who have provided assistance to U.S. and allied operations over
the last decade, who may be at risk of retaliation from anti-American factions after
remaining U.S. troops leave.
|Understanding the Special Immigrant Visa Program
- The SIV process is open to Iraqis who have been
employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq on or after March
20, 2003, for a period of one year or more, and “who have experienced or
are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that
program authorized up to 5,000 visas annually
from 2008-2012, but as of September 2010 only 2145 had been issued.
- Of the Iraqis who have been cleared for admission
many are stuck in limbo as they wait for approval for their families.
- More info
Urge the Obama
Administration to take full responsibility for Iraqi refugees, including
Iraqis at risk of retaliation for working with the U.S.
Millions of Iraqi civilians are still
displaced due to the war either in Iraq or in refugee camps throughout the
Middle East. Many of them are residing in unstable areas, like Syria. In 2008 the U.S. government created a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program for
Iraqis who worked for the U.S. government and military operations but, due to lengthy processing time and heavy clearance
fewer Iraqis have been admitted under the program than it allows.
The U.S. has a moral
responsibility both to assist those Iraqis still displaced by war and
especially to those Iraqis who helped the U.S. in the war. As the Obama
Administration makes plans to end it military engagement in Iraq at the end of
this year, it must not abandon those without the option safely to return home
to the new Iraq in 2012, or a clear path to resettle in the U.S.
Tell President Obama,
Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano that
you believe the U.S. has an obligation to continue assisting Iraqi refugees
still in limbo after we leave Iraq, including Iraqis who helped
the U.S. and are now at risk, to find a quick and welcoming path to America
through the SIV program.
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