Sunday, September 21, 2014
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More Iraq visa horror stories

Even breast cancer may not get an Iraqi endangered because she helped us her promised visa.

More Iraq visa horror stories

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Here are some more of the emails I got about Iraqis who worked for US military and civilians, the difficulties they are having getting promised visas, despite threats to their lives:

One of the worst stories came from Becca Heller, head of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project www.refugeerights.org, a New York-based organization that provides free legal assistance to Iraqi visa applicants:  One of her clients is an Iraqi woman who worked for the US military and fled with her family to Damascus because of threats of reprisal. She completed the entire application process for an SIV visa on March 27, 2011, but during the process found she breast cancer..

“ The US Embassy in Damascus was informed in January of 2011 that she needed emergency surgery for breast cancer,” wrote Heller. But it took 10 more months to get the visa approved in November – and her husband and sons DID NOT RECEIVE VISAS.  Only because IRAP put consistent pressure on the U.S. government did the woman’s family finally get visas – this week. “Although we were assured a number of times beginning in January that her case would be expedited,” says Heller, “even with the expedite it took over a year.”

 Here's another infuriating story from a naval commander who did reserve duty in Iraq:

Thank you for bringing to light the plight of Iraqis who helped the United States during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and who are now encountering obstacles in securing SIV visas.  A case in point is Captain S., who was instrumental in supporting our efforts with the Ministry of Agriculture during my recall to active duty in 2007-8.  He and his team worked tirelessly with us to spray date palm trees, which is a major crop for Iraq in the central provinces and was very important to our efforts to assist the Ministry of Agriculture in re-developing its core industries.

 Captain Safaa has applied for a Special Immigrant Visa, case number 1059, for he and his family, but is meeting the obstacles you describe.  Captain Safaa put his life on the line, traveling to and from Baghdad and between provinces during a very dangerous time, and he and his family are most deserving of a visa.  I emailed the Office of the Chief of Mission from my navy.mil account in November to substantiate his case, but I did not hear anything in return. 

 

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
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About this blog

Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2009-2011 she has made four lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past seven years, she visited Iraq eleven times, and also wrote from Iran, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, China, and South Korea.

She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.

Reach Trudy at trubin@phillynews.com.

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
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