For most Iraqis who seek resettlement in the US, the immigration process is riddled with inane bureaucratic rules. One of those rules required Iraqis to be processed in one of Iraq’s neighboring countries rather than Iraq itself; a dangerous and inefficient venture for Iraqis whose lives are in danger.
George Packer reports that this US policy has now changed. Thanks to a bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy, the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act that passed in December 2007, resettlement cases for Iraqi allies are being held in the Green Zone. Packer relates:
I pushed for in-country processing when I was in Baghdad in early 2007 reporting for my article “Betrayed”; I was told by embassy officials that it wasn’t possible, without ever getting a persuasive explanation. It could have started a year ago, or two years ago. But I want to give credit where it’s due: if, in the coming year, a few thousand Iraqis who work with Americans won’t have to join their colleagues in the misery of exile before having a chance of being resettled here, then something good will have happened in this shameful story.
Yes, since visa requirments were established in Jordan and Syria, travel to these countries has been tougher, driving people into the hands of smugglers; a risky venture! This, indeed, is a piece of good news.