Most of the estimated 2.2 million Iraqi refugees — who have fled primarily to Syria and Jordan — want to return home and are becoming a “looming problem” financially for the region, Foley said. Meanwhile, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has identified only about 17,000 as eligible for admission to the United States based on dangers they would face upon returning to Iraq.
This is the first time I’ve read that the refugees want to go home, although it’s been hinted at. Now here’s the preceding paragraph:
Ambassador James B. Foley, the State Department‘s senior coordinator of Iraqi refugee issues, told reporters yesterday that he still hopes the goal for the 2008 fiscal year will be met, but he acknowledged it is “not guaranteed.” Since the program was launched in mid-2007, more than 3,000 Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the United States, with 375 arriving last month.
I reversed the order of the paragraphs because it points out the weirdness of our Iraqi refugee policy. Most of the refugees want to return home. But somehow we need to keep pushing to get more refugees into the U.S. Does that make sense?
Moreover, my most important questions have never been answered. We know now that Iraq is far safer than it was when the refugees left; that’s why they want to go home. Doesn’t that mean that the people who were under threat, or most of them, are no longer under threat? If they are still all under threat, who from? They would have been threatened by the people that we have now defeated, or are in the process of defeating.
What I am gathering from the silence on this question is that once someone is certified as a refugee, he wants to get into the United States. Unquestionably our country is a more pleasant place to live than Iraq, no matter how safe it becomes. So it’s no wonder these people want to come here. But are they still actual refugees, as opposed to people certified as refugees by the UN? I wonder, now that we are admitting that the refugees want to go home, if the State Department will answer these questions. Probably not.