The United States announced plans today to evacuate a substantial number of non-essential embassy workers from Baghdad, according to the New York Times, in light of the recent outbreak of violence caused by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. While the embassy and two consulates in other regions of Iraq remain open, at least for now, this move effectively shuts the door on tens of thousands of U.S.-affiliated Iraqi refugees, many of whom have been waiting in the pipeline for multiple years. These men and women, who risked their lives to serve the United States, deserve better.
At issue right now is the increasing amount of threats that faces Iraqi refugees with ties to America. These people were already in peril, due to their work with the US military or other organizations, and are now at even greater risk because of the recent ISIS attacks. We owe these people for their service to our nation, and while government employees should never be put in harm’s way, the State Department needs to find a way to continue processing applications for refugee status.