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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 25, 2008


United States Humanitarian Assistance for Displaced Iraqis

The U.S. Government has increased humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis from $43 million in 2006 to almost $200 million in the first half of 2008.

Since 2003, the U.S. Government has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis.

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 inside and out of Iraq. In addition, the U.S. Government announced a $20 million contribution 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 expect to issue a request for proposals from non-governmental organizations shortly to provide assistance to Iraqi refugees.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) Samuel Witten continues leading 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, food, 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 – 2008

(in millions)

USG

IOs

NGOs

Other

Total

State/PRM

$145.9

-

-

$145.9

USAID/OFDA

-

$26.1

-

$26.1

USAID/FFP

$25

-

-

$25

TOTAL FY08

$170.9

$26.1

-

$197

TOTAL FY07

$105.91

$49.85

$15.3

$171.06

Refugee Processing for Iraqis

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

UNHCR announced its intention in February 2007 to refer approximately 20,000 Iraqis to resettlement countries during the calendar year, with over half that number to the USRAP. At that time, 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 more than 18,000 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 Iraqimay 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 working for the U.S. Government or U.S. Government contractors, or for U.S.-based media organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Many Iraqis have been given access to refugee screening as direct hire employees. Any Iraqi who has fled to Jordan or Egypt because of his/her association with the U.S. is encouraged to contact 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 some 9,000 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 February 20,  1,646 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 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 through the special admissions program for Iraqi translators and interpreters who assisted the United States. This number includes 526 principal applicants and 462 family members.

So far in FY 2008, through January 31, 2008, 507 special immigrant visas were issued through the special admissions program for Iraqi translators and interpreters who assisted the United States. This number includes 247 principal applicants and 260 family members

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.

2008/138


Released on February 25, 2008

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