Finding a place for Iraq refugees

John Dimsdale May 10, 2007
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Finding a place for Iraq refugees

John Dimsdale May 10, 2007
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KAI RYSSDAL: The United Nations estimates that every month, more than 50,000 Iraqis are displaced by the war. More than 4 million refugees in all.

So far, just a handful have been allowed to come to the United States. But Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports, some in Congress would like to change that.


JOHN DIMSDALE: Terron Sims is a former Army officer who served 15 months in Iraq. It wasn’t long before he noticed the high rate of assassinations of native translators and drivers working for the Americans.

TERRON SIMS: These interpreters and contractors the guys who work on the camps, they’re still going home at night. For all intents and purposes, they’re living next door to the bad guys. Themselves as well as their family members are constantly being intimidated for the fact that they’re working with us.

For their own protection, thousands of Iraqis with ties to American forces have been fleeing their country. Many would like to come to the U.S.

But Oregon Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer says not many can.

EARL BLUMENAUER: Over the last six months, we have allowed only 69 Iraqis into the country. Only one in the month of April.

Congressman Blumenauer today introduced a bill to allow 60,000 Iraqis who’ve worked for coalition forces and their families to be resettled in the U.S. over the next four years. The bill would also nearly triple the number of general visas for Iraqis this year and next.

Mark Krikorian at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors tighter controls on immigration, admits the U.S. has an obligation. However, he has a security concern.

MARK KRIKORIAN: We need to do a very good job of screening these people for their backgrounds. Otherwise, we take in people and they create an incubator for anti-American sentiment.

Krikorian is reminded of the refugees created by the Vietnam War and warns it’s a consequence of foreign entanglements.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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