In a terse State Department memo, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker admonishes America’s acceptance of Iraqi refugees as critically slow. Crocker estimates that it would take the U.S. nearly two years to process and admit 10,000 refugees referred for resettlement to the U.S.
In a bluntly worded State Department cable titled “Iraqi Refugee Processing: Can We Speed It Up?” Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker noted that the Department of Homeland Security had only a handful of officers in Jordan to vet the refugees.
Bush administration officials in Washington immediately disputed several of Crocker’s claims.
Still, the “sensitive” but unclassified memo, sent Sept. 7, laid out a wrenching, ground-level view of the U.S. government’s halting response to Iraq’s refugee crisis. Human rights groups and independent analysts say thousands of desperate Iraqis who have worked alongside Americans now find themselves the targets of insurgents and sectarian militias, prompting many of them to seek residency in the United States or Europe.
About 2 million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, and an estimated 2.2 million more have fled to Syria, Jordan and other neighboring countries.