Office of the Spokesman
December 5, 2007
United States Humanitarian Assistance for Displaced Iraqis
Released on December 5, 2007
- The U.S. Government has increased humanitarian assistance for Iraqis from $43 million in 2006 to almost $200 million in 2007.
- Since 2003, the U.S. Government has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for Iraqis.
- The U.S. Government contributed $39 million to the $130 million United Nations Education appeal, which aims to enroll an additional 150,000 Iraqi children in Jordanian and Syrian schools.
- Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) Ellen R. Sauerbrey has led efforts increasing support to UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) responding to humanitarian needs of Iraqi refugees in the region.
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs support thousands of internally displaced persons (IDP) and other at-risk beneficiaries inside Iraq through activities such as provision of emergency relief supplies, water systems, and infrastructure rehabilitation for host communities, small-scale livelihood activities, and support for mobile medical teams and emergency health.
- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Ambassador James Foley as the Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues. He is working with the Iraq Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Task Force, which is chaired by Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, and other government agencies to continue expanding our response.
U.S. GOVERNMENT Funding for Humanitarian Assistance – 2007
a State Department/Near Eastern Affairs Bureau supplement to the Department Scholar Rescue fund grant; USAID support to Jordanian government to reinforce ongoing health and education programs in communities affected by large numbers of Iraqi refugees
Refugee Processing for Iraqis
- Since February 2007, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) expanded processing for Iraqi refugee applicants in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.
- UNHCR announced its intention in February to refer approximately 20,000 Iraqis to resettlement countries during calendar year 2007, with over half that number to the USRAP. In February, the U.S. Government had virtually no refugee processing infrastructure in the two major asylum countries, Syria and Jordan. Since then, USRAP entities have established processing facilities, hired and trained local and international staff, and prepared cases for presentation to adjudicators from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
- UNHCR and U.S. embassies have referred more than 15,000 Iraqis to the USRAP for resettlement consideration. (UNHCR has referred more than 4,400 Iraqis for resettlement consideration to other countries.)
- In addition to the information available on the Department of State website (www.state.gov) any Iraqi may send a request for specific guidance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Jordan and Egypt, direct access to the USRAP has been available to direct-hire employees of the U.S. Mission in Iraq and interpreters/ translators working for the U.S. Government or U.S. Government contractors. Hundreds of Iraqis have been given access to refugee screening as direct hire employees. In addition, any Iraqi refugee who has fled to Jordan or Egypt because of his/her association with the U.S. is encouraged to contact IOM to receive guidance.
- The Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) completed interviews of approximately 6,000 Iraqis to date. Interviews are continuing at an accelerated pace in FY 2008, with the cooperation and support of host governments.
- During FY 2007, 1,608 Iraqi refugees arrived in the U.S. for permanent resettlement.
The total number of Iraqi refugee arrivals in FY 2007 represents an eight-fold increase over the number of arrivals in FY 2006.
- As of November 30, 812 Iraqis have arrived in FY 2008.
- With the necessary USRAP facilities and personnel now in place, we expect that the number of Iraqis admitted to the United States as refugees will increase significantly.
- The U.S. Government is aiming to admit as many as 12,000 Iraqi refugees during the current fiscal year (October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008). As we have noted earlier, the number of arrivals each month will fluctuate.
Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and Immigrant Visas (IVs) for Iraqis
Apart from these refugee admissions numbers, in FY 2007 the United States issued immigrant visas for more than 2,300 additional Iraqis. Preliminary figures for October 2007 indicate that the United States issued immigrant visas to 232 Iraqis in that month.
SIV Program for Translators and Interpreters who Assisted the United States
- 821 of these FY 2007 visas were special immigrant visas through the special admissions program for translator and interpreters who assisted the United States. This number includes 429 principal applicants and 392 family members.
- According to the latest preliminary figures available, in the month of October, the first month of FY 2008, the United States issued an additional 39 special immigrant visas to Iraqi nationals, bringing the total number of visas issued through the special admissions program for translator and interpreters who assisted the United States to 860.
Other Types of Immigrant Visas
- The other 1,520-plus visas issued to Iraqis in FY 2007 were family-sponsored or employment-based immigrant visas that permit them to move permanently to the United States.
- Preliminary figures show that in October 2007, the first month of FY 2008, an additional 193 family sponsored or employment-based immigrant visas were issued.