How an Iraqi is processed for resettlement to the U.S.
By Compiled by Baltimore Sun staff
Dec 30, 2008 | 3:00 AM
• An Iraqi individual or family registers with the local mission of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Those who meet U.N. vulnerability criteria are referred to a third country for possible resettlement.
• Iraqis referred to the United States are interviewed first by an overseas processing entity (OPE) contracted by the United States. In Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, the OPE is the International Organization for Migration. The OPE opens a case file with information on birth, family, residence, employment and military service; forwards names for checking by the State Department; and schedules an interview by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
• The Department of Homeland Security conducts an eligibility interview to determine whether the candidate or candidates qualify as refugees, have been properly admitted to the program, are not already resettled in the host country and are not otherwise inadmissible to the United States. DHS agents also confirm family relationships and take fingerprints and photographs.
• Candidates may be approved conditionally, pending results of the name and fingerprint checks against law enforcement and other government databases.
• Candidates whose resettlement request is denied may ask for their cases to be reopened or reconsidered. Homeland Security retains records of denial.
• Successful candidates are referred back to the overseas processing entity, which schedules medical examinations and matches refugees with resettlement agencies in the United States.
• The International Organization for Migration provides cultural orientation and arranges travel.
• Resettlement agencies receive new arrivals, arrange food and housing and help get Social Security cards and enroll children in school. Refugees receive a monthly stipend the first eight months after arrival, and are eligible for other forms of government assistance.