Today, Foreign Policy published an important article highlighting the massive barriers facing Syrians in Lebanon who wish to resettle to the United States. More than 1 million Syrian refugees currently live in Lebanon, and yet the avenues by which the most vulnerable among them ought to be able to come to America are blocked.
The article highlights two obstacles in particular: first, the fact that the United States has halted interviews with refugees in Lebanon and thus brought the screening process there to a standstill, and, second, the fact that Lebanon has ordered the United Nations to stop registering Syrian refugees, preventing the UN from referring new cases.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the situation is the failure to come up with alternative solutions. As IRAP’s Deputy Policy Director, Betsy Fisher, pointed out to Foreign Policy, resettlement applicants could be allowed to come to the U.S. Embassy to talk with immigration officers via videoconference. “We’re confident that, first of all, this regulation could be changed, but secondly, that this regulation could be interpreted to allow refugees in Lebanon to proceed through without a delay caused by limited space in the embassy,” Fisher explains in the article.
IRAP’s staff in Lebanon continue to advocate on behalf of hundreds of clients seeking resettlement, and also assist with support and protection on the ground while refugees wait for decisions on their resettlement applications. Follow IRAP on Twitter (@RefugeeAssist) for updates from the field, and check out the full Foreign Policy article here for more on the current situation in Lebanon.