- La situazione sta peggiorando.
Gridate con noi che i diritti umani sono calpestati da persone che parlano in nome di Dio ma che non sanno nulla di Lui che è Amore, mentre loro agiscono spinti dal rancore e dall’odio.
Gridate: Oh! Signore, abbi misericordia dell’Uomo.
Mons. Shleimun Warduni
Baghdad, 19 luglio 2014
venerdì, settembre 16, 2011
by Trudy Rubin
In July, I wrote about the plight of Iraqis who worked with U.S. soldiers and civilians but face death as "collaborators" when we leave. Their situation remains unresolved.
Congress set up a special program in 2008 to grant these Iraqis 25,000 special immigrant visas (SIVs) over five years. Only 3,629 have been issued thus far; at least 1,500 are pending.
Yet, some Iraqis who have virtually completed the process have been told they must wait an additional eight months while more security checks are conducted.
Senior administration officials are working to speed up the process (more about this below). But, as our troops come home and bases close, time is of the essence. Many Iraqi interpreters can no longer remain on bases where they have lived for safety; some SIV applicants are moving from house to house under death threat.
Simple decency - not to mention a moral obligation - demands we get these loyal Iraqis out before we leave their country.
"It's very dangerous for me to stay in Iraq; now I can't see my family, I can't finish my school, and I can't have normal life as a human because too much people in Iraq think that everyone who helped the Americans is a traitor and should be killed. Please, if you can tell anyone to find a solution for us, because if the U.S. Army leaves Iraq by end of this year, we are all going to get killed by the militias."
Eric [his nickname]
"We Christians are very easy targets for anyone because nobody is defending us. We fear the imminent U.S. troop retreat that will definitely lead to big chaos in Iraq and we will be easy victims. We are hearing that it is the security check that causes all these delaying, but what security check is taking 11 months without completion?" [Especially since he has a host of relatives who are already American citizens, including his parents, two brothers, two aunts, and two uncles.]
Thank you, also from my wife Basma & Gerard (my little angel)." S.
One translator who helped carry out a U.S. investigation of fraud in Iraqi government ministries wrote that two attempts had been made on his life; he's had to live on U.S. bases since February for safety, but his unit is leaving. Yet, he was told in June that it will take eight to 12 months more to get his visa, despite recommendations from U.S. officers.
Senior administration officials tell me they are focused on the visa issue "at the highest level of government." They say the process has been streamlined, and personnel shifted to speed the additional security checks.
"We are working through the current backlog with a serious sense of urgency," one official told me. "We don't anticipate this will take eight months." He said there were procedures in place to expedite particularly urgent cases. "We know that the United States has a special responsibility to Iraqis who worked on our behalf."
However, none of the desperate Iraqis who've contacted me since July has had an update about their visas. One who tried to expedite his case was told, again, he'd have to wait several months. That's a potential death sentence. (I've also received e-mails about Iraqis who thought they'd been approved for SIVs and were suddenly rejected for unspecified "security reasons," no details given, no right to appeal.)
We have to rescue these Iraqis. And there's a precedent. In 1996, the United States evacuated 6,000 endangered Iraqi opposition activists from northern Iraq to Guam, then did security checks there. The British and Danes evacuated their Iraqi staff when they left southern Iraq.
Might we do the same?
"There is no plan to institute a mass evacuation," a senior administration official told me. But if our bureaucracy can't get the SIV backlog cleared before our troops leave, we must get those Iraqis out. There's only four months left.