News roundup: 3/12/2008

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The Boston Globe ran an editorial on Monday criticizing the cessation of Iraqi visa processing and also noting the efforts of TLP partner Upwardly Global:

“… Unfortunately, federal officials have stopped processing these visas, citing snags over such logistics as how visa applicants can prove that they face a threat in Iraq as a result of working for the United States. But the risk is gruesomely evident, and this bureaucratic hang-up should be cleared quickly to get Iraqis out of harm’s way…

… a San Francisco nonprofit called Upwardly Global helps them connect to American jobs. This is essentially a translation project, explaining in American terms what an immigrant’s foreign experience is and how it can benefit domestic companies. It provides this support for Iraqis across the United States during a weekly conference call, covering resume writing, networking, and the option of moving to places with more job opportunities. The nonprofit is also organizing an employment “boot camp” that it hopes to hold in the coming weeks in Washington.

…[M]aking a place here for thousands of Iraqis who helped the US government would repay a debt of gratitude.”

Even Bush Administration officials have been conceding on the record that the crisis is “deepening”:

Ambassador Lawrence Foley said a prime concern is worsening poverty among those who sought shelter inside Iraq as well as in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. “The most critical problem is increasing impoverishment,” said Foley, senior coordinator for Iraqi refugee issues at the State Department. Iraqis who live in foreign countries but do not possess residency permits are often forbidden to work, and so the longer they stay, the more likely they are to spend and deplete any remaining family resources, he said.

A new blog is up on blogspot in which an Iraqi currently employed as a translator describes his day to day life. The subheading of the blog poignantly describes his existence: “Traitors in our peoples view, Spies in american view, we are stuck in the middle!, who are we????????”

Alertnet runs a self-explanatory piece “Iraqi refugees see little hope of returning home.”

Meanwhile, Sweden, formerly a haven for Iraqi refugees, is beginning to close its doors.

On a brighter note, the Washington Examiner reports on an Iraqi family peacefully settling in to the suburbs of the District of Columbia.


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