Codepink blogger: Iraqi refugees need lawyers

Surely you know the ladies at Codepink—you see them, dressed in pink, protesting for peace in unpeaceful ways.   Well, they have a blog (of course) called Pink Tank and this article popped up in my alerts yesterday.

The blogger reporting from Jordan tells a tale of a Sunni Muslim family wishing to get into the US (you can read the story yourself) who is turned down for resettlement supposedly because the father says he doesn’t know what will happen to them if they return to Iraq.

She then makes a case for legal representation for Iraqi prospective refugees.

Of course, no one knows what would happen to them if they went back to Iraq, although the most reasonable prediction would be death for one or all family members, but at this point his interviewer closed his file and the family got a notice from the US embassy that they were “ineligible for resettlement,” that “there is no appeal” and that the principal applicant may make a detailed request for review based on new evidence or significant error within 90 days.

There are no guarantees that we will be successful in pressing Iklass and Raed’s case, of course. But I hope I’ve demonstrated that at this point, a family in their situation needs a lawyer. Any rational person faced with this final determination on their entire future peppered with legalese would head straight for the nearest directory of attorneys. Unfortunately, refugees at this stage have no right to legal representation. No, more than that, they’re not allowed it. Our legal advocates can help them prepare their documents, make legal arguments on their behalf, and moot them before their last interview, assuming it is granted. But unlike an asylum seeker (who has already made it to US soil), these applicants may not bring a legal representative with them to meetings at IOM (International Organization for Migration), and their representatives are not allowed access to their files. Their legal rights are about on par with someone applying for a tourist visa – none.

Although she doesn’t venture there, you get three guesses who would fund the lawyer!   US taxpayer, US taxpayer, US taxpayer.

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