Greetings friends and supporters!
The List Project has been working busily through the summer months to ensure that our Iraqi allies get the help they need in the midst of our withdrawal.
Iraqi refugees and TLP in the news
As some may recall, in May of this year, two Iraqis were arrested in Kentucky and indicted on terrorism charges for trying to smuggle weapons to militant groups in Iraq. These Iraqis were not affiliated with the U.S. and came through a separate program, which allows all Iraqi nationals designated as refugees to apply.
Security processing for both this program and the Special Immigrant Visa program are elaborate, time consuming and meant to weed out any potential threats. However, as these men slipped in due to a failure within the U.S. government to share data between agencies, many Iraqis who truly deserve resettlement in the U.S. have been denied entry.
The incident has had a negative impact on those who have risked their lives for the United States. Iraqis waiting in line for already painfully long periods of time are now being forced to wait even longer, partly because of new security procedures that were instituted at the beginning of this year. The results are discouraging: some Iraqis on our list have been told that they were approved to resettle to America, only to be told at the last minute that they would have to wait for an undetermined period of new security procedures. In many cases these Iraqis had sold off their property and possessions in preparation for life in the United States. Now they are told to go back to homes they no longer have and wait for more checks, risking their lives in the process.
Sadly the United States government has retrenched its immigration policies for U.S. affiliated Iraqis even further than before. It seems that the present policy derives from the premise that all Iraqis – even those who have served alongside our Marines – are guilty of potential terrorism until proven innocent. This has led to the lowest number of visas granted to Iraqis since the program started in 2007.
We have been speaking out, and the List Project Director Kirk Johnson recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post, which can be found here.
Keeping you up to date
To keep up with events on the ground, the List Project has been compiling recent threats and other relevant information that Iraqis are providing us. In this we seek to highlight their continued plight as well as make known to everyone the consequences of not acting to help them in this their greatest hour of need. If you are following us on twitter @TLPHQ, look for the hashtags #wherestheplan and #saigon2.0, which reference our call for the Obama Administration to put in place a contingency plan to protect our Iraqi allies upon the withdrawal, lest we repeat the mistakes of Saigon.
As always, if you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org