While USCIS continues to refine and improve the process of conducting security checks on Iraqi refugee and SIV applicants, Iraqis who worked for coalition forces, and even Iraqis connected to those who worked for coalition forces, wonder each day if the threats they continue to receive will again be carried out as they have been repeatedly in the past.
For Mr. Ahmed, a university professor who left his position to translate for U.S. forces, the threat was executed once when a bomb exploded outside his house, severely wounding him and killing two of his daughters.
It was executed again, this time against his daughter and her husband after he had fled Iraq– a car bomb took his son-in-law’s leg and eye in 2010.
As the child of an Iraqi who aided coalition forces in Iraq, Mr. Ahmed’s daughter qualifies for Priority 2 refugee status in the United States, thanks to the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007. But the promise of that legislation rings hollow in the ears of those who, like Mr. Ahmed’s daughter, have been told that their applications are indefinitely on hold. Admission of Iraqis to the US fell by half last year, from 18,016 to 9,388, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are on track to fall even more in 2012.
New security checks are wreaking havoc upon a refugee admissions system that was once among our nation’s greatest moral achievements. USCIS speaks of refining and improving the process, but in light of the political turmoil and violence that came to the fore mere hours after the US withdrawal from Iraq, it is clear that a far more urgent response is required from the highest levels of the Obama administration.
In the meantime, Mr. Ahmed continues to wait for his daughter. “She is a part of me and I am unable to live without her.”
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