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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 15, 2008


U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for Refugees and Internally Displaced Iraqis

The U.S. Government has increased humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq from $43 million in 2006 to a total of $208 million so far this year. Since 2003, the U.S. Government has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for refugees and Iraqi IDPs, providing more than $500 million to date.

In February, the U.S. Government announced a $125 million contribution to international organizations to provide humanitarian assistance, including education and health services, and protection to Iraqis both within and outside of Iraq. This was in addition to the $20 million the U.S. Government contribution announced in January to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their joint $84.8 million September 2007 appeal to meet the health needs of Iraqis displaced in neighboring countries. We have also issued a request for proposals from non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to Iraqi refugees and expect to begin making awards shortly.

Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues Ambassador James B. Foley is encouraging increased contributions from regional and traditional donor countries to support international efforts to assist Iraqi refugees. In late March, Ambassador Foley traveled to the Middle East and Europe to urge the Arab League, the European Union and individual member states to increase humanitarian assistance for Iraqi refugees.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs support hundreds of thousands of IDPs and other at-risk beneficiaries inside Iraq through activities such as provision of emergency relief supplies, food, water systems, infrastructure rehabilitation for host communities, small-scale livelihood activities, and support for mobile medical teams and emergency health.

U.S. GOVERNMENT Funding for Humanitarian Assistance – 2008 (in millions)

USG IOs NGOs Other Total
State/PRM $145.9 - - $145.9
USAID/OFDA - $26.1 - $26.1
USAID/FFP $36.0 - - $36.0
FY08 Contributions to date $181.9 $26.1 - $208.0
         
PRM Planned $2.3 $21.2 - $23.5
OFDA Planned $20.6 $29.4 - $50.0
Planned total FY08 contributions $204.8 $76.7 - $281.5
         
Fiscal Year 2007 total contributions $105.91 $49.85 $15.3 $171.06

Refugee Processing for Iraqis

Since February 2007, the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) dramatically expanded processing for Iraqi refugee applicants in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey and is preparing to expand in Lebanon.

At that time, UNHCR announced its intention to begin referring for resettlement consideration substantial numbers of Iraqi refugees. 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 now referred some 24,000 Iraqis to the USRAP for resettlement consideration. (UNHCR has referred some 5,000 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 refquestions@wrapsnet.org .

In Jordan and Egypt, direct access to the USRAP is available to direct-hire employees of the U.S. Mission in Iraq and other Iraqis who worked for the U.S. Government or U.S. Government contractors, or for U.S.-based media organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Any Iraqi who has fled to Jordan or Egypt because of his/her association with the U.S. is encouraged to contact the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to receive guidance. IOM can be reached in Jordan at AmmanInfoCenter@iom.int and in Egypt at CairoInfoCenter@iom.int.

To date, the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) has completed interviews of almost 14,000 Iraqis. 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.

As of March 31, 2008, 2,627 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 in the months to come.

The U.S. Government plans to admit 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 and our ability to reach our goal will depend on factors including security and host government cooperation.

SIV Program for Translators and Interpreters Who Assisted the United States

In FY 2007, 988 special immigrant visas were issued though the special admission program for Afghan and Iraqi translators and interpreters who assisted the United States. This number includes 429 Iraqi principal applicants and their 383 family members, totaling 812 Iraqis on SIVs in FY 2007.*

So far, in FY 2008, (through March 31, 2008), 968 special immigrant visas were issued through the special admissions program for Iraqi and Afghan translators and interpreters who assisted the United States. This number includes 318 Iraqi principal applicants and their 279 family members, totaling 597 Iraqis on SIVs as of March 31 in FY 2008.

New legislation will permit up to 5,000 Iraqi principal applicants working under Chief of Mission authority who are in immediate danger, to apply for special immigrant visas. Procedures for processing those applications are currently in interagency development.

2008/275


* This paragraph replaces and corrects the paragraph describing the 2007 SIV


Released on April 15, 2008

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