To unhappy Iraqi refugees: Contact the Iraqi Embassy, others

I got to thinking about all we are hearing about Iraqi refugees struggling in the United States, living in substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods and finding no jobs.  Most recently we had a firestorm of discussion at this post about Houston, TX about a volag leaving refugees high and dry and a similar story from Sacramento (here).  That is not to mention the twenty plus similar stories from other states in the last year or so.

Since it seems that the US State Department is not taking action, I suggest Iraqi refugees contact the Iraqi Embassy and report what is going on with the refugee program.  We had heard previously that the Iraqi government was paying for airfare home, here.   That is something our government isn’t going to do anytime soon because it would be rotten public relations having to admit that A) after all the fuss to get them here, some Iraqis want to go home, and B) it is my opinion that the Iraqi refugee crisis was overblown to score political points by the anti-war people in the government and in the volags, so sending them back would be an admission that the crisis was exagerated.  And, of course C) taxpayers would be furious to see the waste of their money.  But, frankly it is being wasted now with thousands of refugees on public assistance.

Here is the address for the Iraqi Embassy in Washington, DC.

US Flights home?

We reported previously that it is not unprecedented to airlift unhappy refugees to their home country.  We did it with huge numbers of Kosovars ten years ago, see this post I wrote about that last summer.

Contact the US State Department:

In addition to contacting the Embassy, be sure to write to the State Department Office of Population, Refugees and Migration, address here.

Contact the Iraqi Refugee Czar at the White House too!  Here is a press release from the White House in August naming Samantha Power* head of a new office on Iraqi refugees.  Write to her at:

Samantha Power

National Security Council

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

While you are at it, you might as well write to President Obama at that White House address too!

Since I’m on a roll, and hopefully you are too!

Complain to Inspector Generals!

Here are sites for information on reporting problems with refugee resettlement agencies for Health and Human Services, here.  Note you will be complaining about the Administration for Children and Families (that is where the Office of Refugee Resettlement is located).

The US State Department Inspector General fraud/complaints hotline is here.

Iraqis here on Special Immigrant Visas, also contact the List Project, here.

Contact newspapers in your city and explain the problem.

I used to recommend copying letters to your two US Senators and your Congressman, but they have become pretty useless.  However, if anyone is interested in addresses for them, contact me at and I will find yours for you.  It might be worth it if it’s only a matter of one more stamp and one more copy of your letter.

Note on writing letters:   Keep the cover letter simple, make a few key points.  If your English isn’t great, get help from someone who can speak English well (except for the Embassy letters, obviously they speak your language).  If you have lots of facts about your situation include those in an attached document.

* Yikes, completely off topic but for political junkies check out Samantha Power’s bio. here.  Readers may remember she had to resign from the Obama campaign in 2008 when she called now Secretary of State (refugees under her department) Hillary Clinton a “monster.”   Later she married Obama’s White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein.