Following up on a story featured on this blog on Monday, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reversed course– at least temporarily– on rejecting green cards to refugees affiliated with groups that have, “sought to topple foreign dictatorships.” As Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post reports:
The catalyst for yesterday’s decision, Scharfen and other officials said, was a Washington Post article last weekend about a translator for U.S. forces in Iraq. Saman Kareem Ahmad, 38, arrived in the United States under a special visa program for those assisting the nation’s war effort, after his life was threatened in Iraq. He had received commendations from the secretary of the Navy and then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, now the top U.S. commander in Iraq, as well as strong support from Marine and Army officers with whom he had worked. Ahmad was later granted political asylum, but his application for permanent residence was denied last month on grounds he had once served with Kurdish military forces that fought against Hussein.
Read the article from the Post in its entirety.
The glimmer of hope here is that waivers, which up until recently had seldom been used, will take on a more prominent role in streamlining part of the immigration process for Iraqi allies. Still, USCIS admits that correcting this single deficiency “could be a cumbersome process.” Indeed, as pointed out by Human Rights First, this process has been slow-moving for quite some time despite the efforts of some lawmakers.
And while waivers offer some hope for the few who have already made it to the U.S., it still fails to address what is preventing so many Iraqi allies from reaching America in the first place.