Administration Loosens Iraq Refugee Requirements

The Bush Administration is sending to Congress draft special immigrant visa (SIV) legislation, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky announced today in Geneva at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ international conference on Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons.

She is pictured here at the announcement with Ellen Sauerbrey

US announces USD 18 million, Iraq USD 25 million GENEVA, April 17 (KUNA) — US Under-Secretary of State Paaula Dobriansky announced today that her government expects in 2007 to provide USD 100 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraqis, both inside and outside Iraq.

She added, in a news conference today, that the US will also contribute USD 18 million to the United Nations High Commissioner (UNHCR) emergency appeal for Iraqi displacement.

Dobriansky added that the US might be able to take this year for resettlement some 25,000 Iraqi asylum seeker. The US official in charge of Democracy and Global affairs said that the US is taking into consideration the plight of 40,000 third-country refugees still living in Iraq among them 15,000 Palestinians. Dobriansky said it is the responsibility of the Iraqi government and UNHCR to protect those refugees.

NOTE: For a number of years the refugee program for Iraqis citizens has severely limited approval to immigrate to the United States. Since April 2003 only 690 Iraqis have been admitted, and have been under close scrutiny by State Department officials. They have had to be interviewed outside the US Embassy and military officers have often been required to provide extensive documentation in their behalf. As the Congress has come under Democratic supervision there has been an effort to open up refugee doors to the US. See:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041607J.shtml

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