TPS for Iraq

In an article in the Free press by Niraj Warikoo, "Top Chaldean says US efforts in Iraq fall short- people need better security," Iraqi Cardinal Delly states: "The occupying powers could do a lot more to help bring about peace, reconciliation and security,""We are puzzled as to why they have not done more to bring about peace and security in Iraq." Cardinal Delly described the post invasion reality in Iraq as "The absolute worst time that I've seen in my life has been the last five years." He added that "There is a complete breakdown of security and "that about 40% of Iraq's 1.25 million Christians have fled the country during the past five years, but he said that Christianity will continue to survive in Iraq.

Cardinal Delly said "there is no official persecution" from the Iraqi government, but that the attacks against Christians come from "individuals in the country who are antagonistic."
A number of Iraqis who applied for asylum after the 2003 invasion were denied asylum. To qualify for asylum, an individual has to show that they have a subjective fear of persecution that is reasonable that makes them unwilling to go back to the country of habitual residence. The persecution has to be on the basis of a protected status such as religion, race, national origin, or political opinion. A number of Iraqis have had their asylum denied because immigration judges have found that while there are random acts of violence in Iraq, the applicants for asylum have not been able to show that they are singled out for persecution. A number of immigration judges have not been giving weight to the fact that the government is unwilling or able to protect Iraqis.

I recall one case I had in the post- invasion period, at the height of the unrest and chaos. My client was a Chaldean who came to the US as a child. The judge, who is not on the bench anymore, denied him asylum. After the trial, off the record, I told the judge, who has been always nice, that my client is sent to die in Iraq. The judge got angry and told me about a soldier he knows that was shot in Iraq and is now paralyzed. I was taken aback by the judge's response. basically, the judge was saying if an American is going to be paralyzed in Iraq, he would not feel for an Iraqi going back there.

US invasion of Iraq, regardless of whether it was a good idea or bad idea at the time, has brought a lot of pain and suffering to millions of Iraqis. It is not totally the fault of the US government- the terrorists, the sectarian fanatics, the small Iraqi politicians who are unable to rise to the occasion are all to blame.

It's not Obama's war. The US as a country has an obligation to the Iraqis.

Millions have fled their country seeking safety in neighboring countries. We should do more to help the Iraqis. The asylum route is not the most efficient way of dealing with the Iraqis. The asylum process has been inconsistent in dealing with asylum applications across the board. Research on immigration courts have determined that the odds of winning or losing an asylum case is largely a function of the immigration court location. A better way to deal with Iraq is to grant Iraqis Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Cardinal Delly wisely noted that "Even an earthworm, when somebody tries to touch it, shrivels, sensing danger. So, it is normal for an intelligent human being to protect himself when there is danger around. This is a natural thing that the good Lord instilled in all of us to try and protect all creatures." Iraqis should not be forced to go back to a country that is in the situation Cardinal Delly aptly described. Iraqis deserve TPS status.

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