Today’s editorial in the Los Angeles Times gets right to the point:
“Though the Obama administration has publicly said the program remains a priority, the numbers suggest otherwise: Only 154 people were admitted in fiscal year 2011, according to federal officials. Moreover, no one in the administration can explain what is causing the delays or even how a program that was designed to serve as a lifeline to people in immediate danger has become a bureaucratic nightmare.”
Because of new security checks associated with two Iraqis recently indicted on terrorism charges in Kentucky, as well as other incidents, many deserving Iraqis are being asked to wait even longer than is the norm. Some Iraqis whom the List Project has been in contact with recently had even been assured they would soon be leaving, only to be told after they had sold all their property and prepared for a flight out of Iraq that their travel date had been postponed because of the newly instituted checks. They were simply told to go back home and wait.
The government is quick to point out that these new procedures are needed, but as TLP’s executive director Kirk Johnson referenced in the piece, many of TLP’s clients have already endured long waits, in many cases years, in order to receive their visas.
What we see today is simply a continuation of problems associated with a program that seems to have not been the priority that it was promised to be. As the end of the editorial eloquently states, these Iraqis “deserve better than empty promises and unused visas.”