Iraqi Refugee Crisis
Under President Obama's initiative, the United States has initiated the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq. The Iraqi government will face many challenges to protect its citizens and ensure the country’s stability. One of those challenges will be dealing with a refugee crisis that has affected the lives of nearly five million Iraqis. Since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, over two million Iraqis have been forced to relocate indefinitely to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries in the region. Two million more have been forced from their homes and are stuck in camps for displaced persons inside Iraq. The majority of them are unable to return home because their old neighborhoods are unsafe. In addition, many do not have any prospects for employment. At the moment, the Iraqi government does not have the capacity to reintegrate such a large number of people back into society.
The United States has a moral obligation to assist these people whose lives have been turned upside down as a consequence of the war. I am pleased that the White House is committed to providing over a hundred million dollars of assistance and plans to increase the number of Iraqi refugees who will be resettled in the United States. In a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing that I chaired on this topic and in subsequent exchanges with senior Administration officials, I have encouraged the Administration to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with this crisis.
Click here to read my opening statement from the hearing on the Iraqi refugee crisis.