Plan expands to help Iraqis get U.S. visas

July 25, 2008 at 8:22 AM
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BAGHDAD, July 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad says it has enlarged its program to help Iraqi employees of the U.S. government obtain visas to the United States.

The embassy plan calls for visas for 5,000 Iraqi employees per year for the next five years, giving them a shot at becoming U.S. citizens, The New York Times said. The program is said to include many Iraqis reportedly threatened because they worked with the Americans.

The figure likely will be considerably higher, however. Under the program, each person can take spouses and children but not siblings and parents, who would apply under another program. The average Iraqi household is estimated to have about six people.

The U.S. State Department had said the entire 25,000-plus couldn't be resettled over the next two years, as was being studied, because of limits on the number of applications that can be reviewed, The Washington Post said.

The embassy report cited a cumbersome refugee resettlement system.

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