It's a lack of political will, plain and simple. The List Project is a nonprofit group that seeks to bring to the United States hundreds of Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they worked for the U.S. government or military. Despite the efforts of its founder and others, it has succeeded in only a small number of cases. Kirk W. Johnson said the list, which he began in February 2007 with the names of 40 Iraqis who worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, now contains nearly 1,000 names, including 21 applicants in the past two weeks. After 16 months of work, only 31 Iraqis on the list, and 61 of their family members, have arrived in the United States. The U.S. government's overall performance is not much better, according to State Department officials. In the two years that an Iraqi visa program has been available for people who worked for the United States, only 763 of more than 7,000 Iraqis have been granted entry. When spouses and children are included, the number of Iraqis who had come to the United States under the program through the end of May is 1,696.
Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.