WASHINGTON — A 2008 program to provide 25,000 Special Immigrant Visas to Iraqis who “played critical roles in assisting American forces” since the 2003 invasion of Iraq is nearing its expiration, set for the end of December. Of 25,000 visas alotted, only 7,000 have been awarded.
Those Iraqi citizens, and their loved ones, who have been left behind live in danger of kidnapping, torture and murder by extremist groups that call them "traitors." As of August 2008, according to the Congressional Budget Office, approximately 70,000 Iraqis had worked as translators, engineers, civil society experts and advisors for the US armed forces.
In an effort to show the importance of issuing the remaining 18,000 visas to Iraqis and preventing a similar problem as American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.), will be screening documentery filmmaker Beth Murphy’s film The List. The film follows Kirk Johnson, who founded The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies to help US-affiliated Iraqis in need of special visas navigate challenges with the US refugee resettlement program.
“This is an important time to remember the failures in Iraq as we are now seeing the problem repeat itself in Afghanistan,” Murphy said. “This screening is an opportunity to have conversations with lawmakers and advocates who can work together to do what’s right for those who risked their lives to help the United States.”