US to Admit More Iraqi Refugees

Speeds up glacial pace of resettlement
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2008 3:47 AM CST
Thousands of Iraqi refugees in front of the offices of the U.N. Higher Commission for Refugees in Damascus. The State Dept. has promised to step up the slow pace of resettling Iraqi refugees in the US...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The State Department plans to admit 12,000 Iraqi refugees into the US by September, despite resettling only 375 so far this year, CNN reports. Ambassador James Foley, charged with the task of accelerating resettlement, vowed to reporters that the pace will pick up in the coming months. The US promised to resettle 7,000 Iraqis in America last year but only moved in 1,600.

The US has been criticized for failing to resettle significant numbers of Iraqis whose flight to neighboring Jordan and Syria has created a humanitarian crisis. "This is a tall order but it remains attainable," Foley said. "We are building a capacity which will result in much stronger numbers later in the year."