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Fact Sheet: Iraqi Refugee Processing

U.S.Refugee Admissions Program

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is an inter-agency partnership of many governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO), both overseas and domestically, whose mission is to resettle refugees in the United States. The U.S. Department of State's (DOS) Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) has overall management responsibility for the USRAP and has the lead in proposing admissions numbers and processing priorities. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for interviewing refugee applicants and adjudicating applications for refugee status. Through its cooperative agreements with overseas processing entities, PRM handles the intake of refugee referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and U.S. embassies, certain NGOs, the prescreening of cases and the out-processing of individuals for travel to the United States.
 
Iraqi Refugee Processing

Part of the refugee program's important humanitarian mission is to offer resettlement opportunities to especially vulnerable Iraqi refugees. Since large-scale Iraqi refugee processing was announced in February 2007, DHS and DOS have worked cooperatively to increase the number of Iraqi refugees admitted as part of the worldwide commitment. DHS and DOS have been committed to streamlining the process for admitting Iraqi refugees to the United States while ensuring the highest level of security. DHS and DOS share responsibility for initiating security checks for Iraqi refugee applicants.
In the last year, the USRAP dramatically expanded its capacity to consider Iraqi refugees for resettlement. 

Since the program began in fiscal year 2007, as of July 2, 2008, 30,184 Iraqi individuals have been referred for resettlement to the USRAP. USCIS has interviewed 22,536 Iraqi refugee applicants, approved 15,533 for resettlement and 8,217 Iraqi refugees have arrived in the United States.

Process for Resettlement

In identifying Iraqi cases for referral to the USRAP, UNHCR and DOS have prioritized 11 categories of especially vulnerable refugees, including individuals who are affiliated with the U.S. government and religious minorities, among others.

Iraqi refugees may gain access to this program through referrals from UNHCR, a U.S. embassy, or certain NGOs. Iraqi applicants who worked for the U.S. government, a U.S. contractor, or a U.S.-based media organization or NGO, and their family members, can apply directly without a UNHCR referral in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. In addition, Iraqi applicants will be considered for resettlement if an eligible family member applies on their behalf in the United States. The vast majority of cases processed so far by the USRAP have been referrals from UNHCR.

USCIS officers are interviewing Iraqi refugee applicants primarily in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon. DOS and DHS have also begun refugee processing in Iraq for certain Iraqis who are associated with the United States and their family members.

For the rest of this Refugee related Fact Sheet please feel free to visit www.uscis.gov.

Chuck Hollis

Ohio Immigration Lawyer
Chuck Hollis - Attorney Bio

E-mail: cfh@hollis-law.com


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