Several thousand Iraqis, PBS News reports, including many who helped the United States during the Iraq war, are caught in a grim race between death threats in their own country and the cumbersome process of obtaining a visa.
As Becca Heller, IRAP director, points out, 5,000 visas have been set aside each year since 2008 to expedite those Iraqis’ entry into the United States. As of Sept. 30, the U.S. government should have given out 20,000 of these special visas, but only 3,317 have been issued.
Increased security checks have contributed to visa delays, and despite the urgency created for translators remaining in Iraq now that U.S. troops have left, an immediate solution has not emerged.
As Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, the world is watching how the United States responds to the refugee crisis in Iraq. “Why would Afghans cooperate with us when they see what happened to Iraqis when they cooperated with us?”