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 employment.”
  • The 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 hurdles, many 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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