Trump campaigned in 2016 promising tight restrictions on immigration, and in the past year and a half, his administration has sharply reduced refugee admissions through executive orders and closed-door decisions.
The refugee ceiling Trump set last year of 45,000 is the lowest since 1980, when the modern refugee program was established. The United States is on track to admit about 22,000 refugees this year, approximately half of the maximum allowed.
Advocates for Iraqis who worked for the U.S. government or American companies say hundreds of them have been killed, wounded, abducted or threatened because of their work and face continued danger inside Iraq from armed militias opposed to the United States.
“Iraqis with a U.S. affiliation currently have no avenue to safety,” said Betsy Fisher, policy director for the International Refugee Assistance Project.
Last year, the Trump administration instituted more stringent screening for refugees, including a requirement that they submit phone numbers and email addresses for many more family members than before. That information is now assessed in the Security Advisory Opinions for those refugees who require them.
The countries whose refugees automatically require SAOs before they can be admitted, in addition to Iraq, are Egypt, Iran, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Iraqis can raise flags for national security concerns for a number of reasons, especially if their work for the military required them to keep tabs on militants and other potential threats. [Continue reading…]