News Roundup: 3/14/2008

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War News Radio has recently reported on the dire conditions of Iraqi refugees living in Syria and Jordan. With interviews with refugees, the piece emphasizes the hardships Iraqi refugees have to face due to decreasing personal funds. The broadcast also mentions the crucial role Jordan’s non-refugee employment policy plays in rising poverty and Jordan’s power to deport any Iraqi refugee who obtains employment. Consequently, many refugees are forced into menial jobs and employment within the black market. However, there are charitable organizations that ameliorate some of the hardships.

Mercy Corps, an international NGO, has helped deliver aid and social services to refugees in Jordan:

In September, 523 families received a month’s worth of dry food delivered to their homes. During the month of Ramadan, which ended October 13, three Iftar tents serving hot meals welcomed an estimated 150 to 200 Iraqis a day. A soup kitchen in Amman serves roughly 300 a day, most of whom are Iraqi refugees.
We’ve also assisted Iraqi families in registering their children for formal schooling and helped Iraqis gain access to neighborhood social services like psychosocial counseling, youth activities and job-skills training. The agency recently forged an agreement with an operator of three community centers in East Amman to extend their services to 300 Iraqi families living nearby.

In other news, The Department of Homeland Security has recently issued a press release stating:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) have been committed to streamlining the process for admitting Iraqi refugees to the U.S. while at the same time ensuring the highest level of security.

The DHS issued the press release the same day a committee in the House of Representatives held a hearing on the Iraqi refugee issue; a hearing that this AFP article summarizes.


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