Iraqi Refugees

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At the outside of the Iraq invasion, a tidal wave of refugees was predicted. It didn't happen right away.  But last February, the bombing of a Shiite mosque set off the orgy of deadly sectarian violence that continues to drive both Sunnis and Shiites from their homes. Some 40 to 50,000 Iraqis are leaving home every month and some 2 million are already abroad. But just 466 refugees have been allowed to immigrate to the United States.  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees calls it the largest exodus in the Middle East since Palestinians were displaced by the 1948 creation of Israel. A US official brands it "shameful," especially for those who risked their lives as interpreters and drivers for government agencies and civilian contractors. It's a far cry from happened during and after the Vietnam War. We hear from the UN, immigration reformers in the US and refugees, including a civil engineer who left Iraq in 2004--after her son was kidnapped at gunpoint by local gangs.

Credits

Guests:
Faiza Al-Araji - Iraqi mother, engineer and refugee, Wendy Young - Kids in Need of Defense - @supportkind, Andrew Lam - author in Saigon, editor for New America Media, Jack Martin - spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Karen Radziner, Frances Anderton, Dan Konecky, Christian Bordal