Statement on new screening procedures for Iraqi refugees

Statement by Kristele Younes on New Screening Procedures for Iraqi Refugees

Advocate, Refugees International

"Refugees International applauds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for finally announcing new procedures for screening Iraqi refugees applying for resettlement in the United States. It has taken many months to get these processes in place, and we expect this to lead to an increase in the number of refugees who are allowed to seek safety here.

"Refugees International is disappointed that the U.S. has only resettled 69 Iraqi refugees in the current fiscal year, and expects the State Department and DHS to work quickly in screening, processing, and resettling Iraqi refugees in the U.S. It now appears highly unlikely that the U.S. government will reach its commitment to resettle up to 7,000 refugees by September 30, but there is no reason we should not start to see thousands of Iraqis allowed into the U.S. in the coming months. The UN has already referred 4,700 cases to the U.S - how these cases are handled will be the next test of the American commitment to help Iraqi refugees.

"While the U.S. has a responsibility to set up appropriate screening measures for refugees, Refugees International believes that this will only provide durable solutions for a small percentage of vulnerable Iraqis. 2.2 million Iraqis are now refugees throughout the Middle East, and another two million are displaced within Iraq itself. The U.S. must do more to provide security, protection, and assistance to the Iraqi people in order to adequately address this crisis. The resettlement of Iraqis is a welcome step, but more must be done."

Since November 2006, Refugees International has traveled to Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt to identify the problems facing Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people and has taken the lead in advocating for solutions to those problems. Refugees International is a Washington, DC-based organization that uses advocacy to generate lifesaving humanitarian assistance and protection for displaced people around the world and works to end the conditions that create displacement. Read our most recent recommendations at