Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Road to U.S. a long one for Iraqi asylum seekers

Thousands of Iraqis are waiting in Egypt and Jordan to go through the long, difficult process of interviews and background checks to try to get one of the slots allotted by the United States for permanent asylum. The process takes time and many Iraqis are frustrated and disappointed.

The head of the State Department’s refugee office, Ellen Sauerbrey, recently announced that there has been a significant jump in accepted claims – from 190 that entered the U.S. before August to 400 who came over the past month.

However, as the article notes: “Overall, though, the sluggish process has left refugees confused and angry – particularly those who risked their lives working for the Americans in Iraq and now feel abandoned by the U.S. at their time of need.”

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and ouster of Saddam Hussein more than two million people have fled the chaos in Iraq.

“The road to the U.S. is a long one. Iraqis must first apply to the UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency — their first round of interviews,” according to the article. Then they must go through a second round of interviews with the U.N. migratory agency to prepare their cases. Finally, they are interviewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which decides which Iraqis to bring to America. They must then undergo security and medical checks once accepted by the DHS, which can take weeks.

“Umm Adwar, a Christian Iraqi widow who has been in Amman for the past year, has had her medical check and is still waiting for word on when she will go to the U.S., where she has distant relatives,” according to the article. “Every day that passes, I grow even more anxious and impatient to hear the good news,” Adwar said.

For the full article, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home