Thursday, June 14, 2007

"No Friend Left Behind" Update

[posted by Callimachus]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has spent more time on this issue, in its op-ed columns, than most media I see. A piece ran today (online here, but behind the subscription wall):

Every day Iraqi civilians are killed on the streets and in their homes by insurgents. And many of them are targeted for a simple reason: They have either worked for or have some other connection to the U.S. government. As a matter of policy the U.S. has officially opened the door for many of these civilians by offering them refugee status here.

But in practice that door has been effectively closed. This became increasingly clear recently when the State Department revealed how many Iraqi refugees were allowed into the U.S. during the month of May.

The author is Anna Husarska, senior policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee. She's also written on the topic here.

Also weighing in the WSJ pages recently was Amnesty International, though in typical style it seemed equally concerned with getting in rhetorical digs at the Bush Administration and calling attention to the plight of refugees.

Still, it's hard for me to disagree with them on this:

Amnesty International is calling on the international community, in particular the United States (US), the European Union (EU), and other states that have the capacity to do so, to share the responsibility by resettling Iraqis from Jordan and Syria, giving priority to the most vulnerable cases in accordance with UNHCR guidelines on the resettlement of Iraqi refugees. Such resettlement programmes should go far beyond token numbers and should constitute a significant part of the solution to the current crisis. Further, these and other countries must not forcibly return rejected Iraqi asylum seekers to any part of Iraq presently because of the endemic violence in the country.

I should add that I've written to two of my Congressmen about this matter. My GOP Representative never wrote back. My Democratic Senator sent back a form letter touting his disagreement with Bush over the surge and his intention to secure a full U.S. withdrawal (sorry, "redeployment") from Iraq asap. Not a word in it about refugees.

And so it goes.