An article published in today’s Economist lays out the almost insurmountable hurdles that Iraqis who have worked with the United States are forced to jump through: “Men must now pass five separate checks, women four, and children three.”
In May, two Iraqi refugees in Kentucky who had come through the United States Refugee Admissions Program were arrested and indicted on terrorism charges stemming from militant activity in Iraq. They were never affiliated with the United States, but their arrest has singled out all Iraqis seeking to find shelter here, including those with ties to America. Security check processes can now take upwards of a year to complete, though they were anything but streamlined before the incident.
As the U.S. presence in Iraq dissipates, those interpreters still employed by the U.S. will find themselves out of work and in a dangerous situation, forced to leave the bases they once lived in with American soldiers. They will join the cadre of other Iraqis who lent their services to the U.S., but are now forced to live as an exile in their own country. Now they hide from those who want to kill them and wait for a visa that may never come, or may simply come too late.