Iraqi Refugees: U.S. Citizens Get Crapped on Again

If life in the U.S. hasn’t already been downgraded enough by the economy caused mainly by the Iraqi and Afghanistan Conflicts then it is about to get worse if washington has its way by importing thousands of Iraqi Refugees into the U.S., Please somebody tell me, are they CrAzY!

The United States has surpassed its goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees this year and expects more, perhaps tens of thousands, next year, the State Department said on Friday.

The United States expects to admit a minimum of 17,000 Iraqi refugees in fiscal 2009, which begins October 1, the department’s senior coordinator for refugees said. Thousands more Iraqis and their family members could arrive through a special visa program for people who worked for the United States or its contractors.

“I think you’ll see the U.S. government admitting over the course of fiscal 2009 tens of thousands of Iraqis into the United States,” coordinator James Foley told reporters.

Up to 3,000 could come from Baghdad, where the United States began interviews this year, he said.

So far this year, 12,118 Iraqi refugees have arrived and 1,000 more are booked to travel to the United States by the end of this month, when the U.S. fiscal year ends, he said.

That marks a huge leap from just 1,600 Iraqis admitted in the previous year. That number drew widespread criticism from refugee groups that said Washington should do more to help millions of Iraqis who have fled instability and violence since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The number is still lower than what some other countries have taken. Sweden, a country of 9 million people, has admitted over 40,000 Iraqis since 2003.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees estimates 2 million Iraqis are living abroad, mostly in neighboring Jordan and Syria. Some 2.5 million are internally displaced.

One refugee advocacy group, Human Rights First, said it welcomed the news Washington had met its target for Iraqi arrivals in 2008 but that the “low” goal of resettling 17,000 refugees in fiscal 2009 should be raised to at least 30,000.

“The number of Iraqi refugees we have welcomed to our shores is still just a fraction of those in need,” said Amelia Templeton of the New York-based group. She said the U.N. refugee agency estimated that 85,000 Iraqi refugees from the most vulnerable groups would need resettlement next year.

Foley called on the government of oil-rich Iraq to do more to help Iraqi refugees abroad as well as plan for returning Iraqis by addressing their needs for security, social services and property compensation.

So far, he said, Iraq had spent only about $25 million to help its refugees abroad, and provided about $200 million for an initiative to help returning refugees. The latter amount was “rather small,” considering the number of Iraqi refugees and the improving security situation inside Iraq, Foley said.

“One cannot rule out in these situations the possibility that the refugees in large numbers themselves will decide it’s time to go back, but will the Iraqi government be ready for that? That’s what we have to prepare for I think,” Foley said.

The United States spent over $318 million in humanitarian aid for Iraqi refugees this year, Foley said. Washington sought support from other donors, “particularly in the region, not to mention, the government of Iraq itself.”

Foley said he was grateful that Syria, a country with which the United States has strained relations, had agreed to a new facility for refugee processing, which would enable Washington to handle larger numbers of refugees.

3 comments to Iraqi Refugees: U.S. Citizens Get Crapped on Again

  • Carol

    I was wondering how these new arrivals will support themselves? What is this going to cost us. What kind of background checks have been done and are they reliable?

  • Karen Madden


    As a County Coordinator for Refugee Health Services, let me try to provide you with an answer to your question.

    1. Prior to arriving from ANY country, refugees are screened for security, health, and also to ensure they meet the minimum criteria to be designated as a refugee. The process can take as long as six months. If any piece of that assessment doesn't meet the criteria, everything is scrapped and they either are denied or have to start again (e.g. many steps have time limits associated and if that time is exceeded, they must start all over again).

    2. The Federal Gov provides funds to states to assist refugees to resettle and rebuild their lives. The funding is used to provide things such as additional health screenings, immunizations, job search assistance, and housing. HOWEVER, most refugees have family and/or friends who "sponsor" them and may provide them with living accommodations, and transportation.

    3. I want to stress again, that the background checks are done PRIOR to their approval as a refugee, and the approval is dependent on the outcome of the background investigation. Will that process ever fail? Nothing is foolproof, and there are many people born in the US who are much more dangerous than 99% of refugees. Most refugees were designated as such because the very people we are fearful of have made the refugee's home a dangerous place for them. For instance, many refugees from Iran and Iraq are Christians who have been the target of discrimination, abuse, job loss due to their religion, kidnapping, and sometimes torture at the hands of those same people we want to keep OUT of the U.S.

    4. While I can't speak for all refugees, the majority of those I see are anxious to start their lives in the U.S., and that includes becoming self sufficient. Many former refugees in this area are now business owners. Many Iraqi christian refugees were professionals in Iraq, including engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers. Most are anxious to get back to their profession.

    Hope this helps provide you with some answers.

  • Chuck Ellis

    Quite frankly I don't think the American public give a hoot in HECK on how well they are screened, or how happy they are to start a new life in America. WE AMERICAN's are having problems making it here ourselves and out Government ain't doing ONE darn thing but raising our taxes, destroying our jobs,and borrowing from the S.S. fund to give themselves a raise. Now they have decreased Medicare by 470 Billion dollars. That is what the people on medicare have worked all their lives for and is now decreased and the service are decreased the price is going up every year. They got problems, we got problems, they solve theirs at their own peril and we will do the same.

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