Friday, April 11, 2008

Iraqi Christians Stuck in Jordan

Iraqi Christians who have been approved for admission to the United States are languishing in a diplomatic limbo as they wait for the State Department to process their paperwork, according to an article by Newsmax columnist Ken Timmerman. Even those with relatives in the United States face a bewildering bureaucratic gauntlet. During the time that the refugees are waiting in Jordan they are not permitted to work and must rely on charity and financial assistance from home.
Since a visit from a delegation last October composed of members of Christian Solidarity International and the Religious Freedom Coalition, the U.S. State Department has been more attentive to the plight of the Christian refugees. Now State Department officials meet with representatives of the Christian community on a Bi-monthly basis.
As comforting as the new attitude of American diplomatic officials might be, the pace of entry for non Muslim refugees has remained glacially slow.
President Bush has given orders that 12000 Iraqi refugees be admitted to the U.S. by October 2008. In the first quarter of this year, approximately 1700 refugees from Iraq have been admitted to the U.S. These statistics seem to indicate that even a presidential decree can become mired in a swamp of bureaucratic inertia.
A dimension of the problem that is hard to assess is the role of regional rivalries in sidelining or slowing down some visa applications. Even in sensitive areas such as Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, a considerable portion of the clerical staff processing visas in in U.S. embassies and consulates is native to the country in which the consulates and embassies are located. There are numerous opportunities that locals might have to bring their prejudice within the premises of the U.S. diplomatic missions. Far more worrisome is the real possibility of hostile elements infiltrating embassies and consulates. This was a concern that proved well founded on more than one occasion in the former U.S.S.R. There is no reason for the United States to be any less vigilant in the Middle East today.
A tidal wave of illegal immigration pounds at America's borders that we lack the will to stop. It is a shame and disgrace that our State Department is not able to bestow the gift of refuge on the public's behalf in a speedy and dignified manner. The problems of security at our embassies will not go away by itself. The bureaucratic impasse that brings heartbreak to thousands requires concerted effort.
There should be a wall at our borders, not in our embassies. It past time to implement the changes necessary to make America's will to compassion a reality. Let us not waste another moment.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe Sphere: Related Content

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