International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The IRC Supports Legislation to Aid Iraqi Refugees

The International Rescue Committee said yesterday that it strongly endorses proposed Congressional legislation to increase the number of Iraqi refugees allowed entry into the United States.

“The ‘Responsibility to Iraqi Refugees Act’ is a critical step toward providing protection to an extremely vulnerable population,” said Bob Carey, IRC vice president of resettlement. “We are grateful that Congress is paying attention to what has become a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions.”

The bill, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Christopher Hays (R-Conn.), would admit to the U.S. up to 15,000 Iraqis (and their families) at special risk because of association in Iraq with U.S.-led coalition forces or the coalition’s civilian contractors. Itl would also increase the number of Iraqis who can enter the U.S. as refugees by 20,000. Priority would be given to persecuted religious, ethnic, and minority groups, female-headed households, unaccompanied children, and Iraqis with family members in the U.S.

The bill would require the establishment of processing facilities in Iraq where Iraqis can apply for refugee or special immigrant status, and the appointment of a special coordinator for
Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. The coordinator would be based at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The legislation would also help ensure the protection and assistance of displaced Iraqis inside Iraq and in neighboring countries.