News: The Refugee Crisis and the Presidential Campaign

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Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have commented upon the need to alleviate the refugee crises initiated by the war, and perpetuated by an obstinate administration. While the discussion of this issue on the campaign trail is minimal, and virtually non-existent in the Republican discourse, both leading Democratic candidates have devoted a few lines on their websites for a policy prescription:

Obama believes that America has a moral and security responsibility to confront Iraq’s humanitarian crisis — two million Iraqis are refugees; two million more are displaced inside their own country. Obama will form an international working group to address this crisis. He will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries, and ensure that Iraqis inside their own country can find a safe-haven.

As our forces redeploy out of Iraq, Hillary would also organize a multi-billion dollar international effort — funded by a wide range of donor states — under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to address the needs of Iraqi refugees.

While the plans are similar and not detailed, the fact that this issue has broken into the national campaign discourse is a promising sign that the next administration simply cannot ignore this grave humanitarian issue. And whether the next administration is Republican or Democratic, it will not have the fear of implicitly acknowledging fault or failure by robustly helping Iraqis, which is one reason why Bush and company are reluctant to admit more refugees into the US.


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