WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their homeland are likely to seek refugee status in the United States, humanitarian groups said, putting intense pressure on the Bush administration to reexamine a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year.How will the evangelical Christians who are demanding a stop to the influx if brown skinned Catholics from Middle America respond to an influx of brown skinned Christians from the Middle East. Of course it is a problem for Bush as well>
The official US policy has been that the refugee situation is temporary and that most of the estimated 1.5 million who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere will eventually return to Iraq. But US and international officials now acknowledge that the instability in Iraq has made it too dangerous for many refugees, especially Iraqi Christians, to return any time soon.
In particular, more than 120,000 Christians who have fled Iraq are unlikely to go home and about 100,000 of them want to come to the United States, where many have relatives, according to a group representing the Christians. A great many of the estimated 1.4 million Iraqi Muslims also are expected to try to resettle, many in the West, according to UN officials.
An effort by hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to resettle in the United States would put the Bush administration in an extraordinarily awkward position. Having waged war to liberate Iraqis, the United States would in effect be admitting failure if it allowed a substantial number of Iraqis to be classified as refugees who could seek asylum here.