Iraqis Fleeing to US Hindered

Workers' lives are in danger, but exit routes are clogged
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2007 9:58 AM CDT
Iraqi refugees wait for their turn at an office of the U.N. Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to register their names for residence near Damascus, in Syria, on Monday, April 23, 2007. There are...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Iraqis who have worked with the occupation forces, endangering their own lives, face overwhelming obstacles if they want to enter the US as refugees. Tens of thousands of locals work for contractors, but because they're not directly employed by the US government, they're not eligible for special immigration status. The Times looks at the difficulties confronting them.

Would-be refugees seeking visas cannot apply in Iraq; they must travel to Syria, Jordan, or farther afield, and many are turned away at border crossings. “Right now, the immigration policy is disconnected from the overall strategy to win," says one American officer. “It’s not just US soldiers who are sacrificing.”