Toggle navigation menu.
Helsinki Default Banner

U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Hastings: U.S. Must Do More to Help Iraqi Allies

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), made the following statement at a Commission briefing. The briefing entitled, “The Forgotten: Iraqi Allies Failed by the U.S.,” focused onThe List: Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, a non-profit organization that helps resettle Iraqis who are at particular risk for having worked for the United States government and American organizations. It also examined the need for the United States to significantly increase its efforts to resettle these vulnerable Iraqi allies.

The panel included Mr. Kirk Johnson, founder and executive director of The List Project; Mr. Christopher Nugent of Holland & Knight, LLP; and an Iraqi whom Mr. Nugent and Mr. Johnson helped to resettle in the United States. Also participating in the briefing was Helsinki Commissioners Congressmen Mike McIntyre (D-NC) and Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) as well as Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).

“I would like to welcome all of you to this Commission briefing about the plight of Iraqi refugees who have worked for the United States in Iraq — and whose lives have been placed in danger for that service — and the work of an incredible organization, The List: Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, that was created to help them.

“While it is heartening to learn about this effort and the many Iraqis The List Project has assisted, it is at the same time distressing that such an undertaking is even necessary. It is because of the failure of our government to do what it has a moral obligation to do — help those who have helped us. In May, the U.S. opened its first processing office in the Green Zone in Baghdad for Iraqi allies – something that I had recommended a year ago to Administration officials.

“The founder and driving force behind The List Project is Mr. Kirk Johnson who worked in Baghdad and Fallujah in 2005 as the coordinator of reconstruction for USAID. During his time in Iraq, Mr. Johnson tried to help one of his friends who had been identified as working for Americans and had gotten death threats. The U.S government did not do anything to help the Iraqi, so Mr. Johnson stepped in and tried to find a way to save his friend. In the process, more and more Iraqis found out about Mr. Johnson’s efforts and sought his assistance, and The List Project was born – officially on June 20, 2007, World Refugee Day.

“Since March 2003, the United States has admitted fewer than 8,000 Iraqi refugees. Sweden, by comparison has accepted 40,000 Iraqi refugees in the same time period. The Administration has set a goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of this fiscal year. However, it is questionable as to whether they will be able to meet that goal. Ambassador Foley recently stated, “On paper, we feel pretty good that we can reach our goal.” He further noted that any number of hitches could prohibit resettlement to the United States.

“To put this in historical perspective, after the fall of Saigon in the spring of 1975, more than 110,000 Vietnamese allies of the United States were airlifted to Guam where they were processed for resettlement to the U.S. in a matter of months.

“Three individuals are with us today to describe their experiences and their work, Mr. Kirk Johnson, the founder of The List Project, Mr. Christopher Nugent of the law firm of Holland & Knight who is providing pro bono legal services for those Iraqis on The List, and an Iraqi whom Mr. Johnson and Mr. Nugent helped to resettle in the United States. Our third panelist will remain anonymous in order to protect members of his family who remain in Iraq. Thank you.”
 

Media contact

Category
Country
Issue
Date
Filter Topics Open Close
Press Releases

HEARING: RESCUING UKRAINIAN CHILDREN AND WOMEN FROM ...

Jul 19, 2023

Wednesday, July 26, 2023 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Rayburn House Building room 2200 Streaming here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n-NyI5xjt8 Russia’s war has exposed the critical need for U.S. and international action to both save Ukraine’s children and to put in place measures for the future that will protect children, as well as vulnerable refugees around the world, […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Protecting Ukrainian Refugees from Human Trafficking

Apr 07, 2023

More than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s massive invasion on February 24, in the largest migration of people in Europe since the Second World War. Given Ukraine’s exit restrictions on males from 18-60, the vast majority of those are women and children. Most cross the Ukrainian border without resources or a place […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Behind Enemy Lines

Jul 20, 2022

As Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine continues, Ukrainians in occupied territories are demonstrating courageous resistance in the face of atrocities, deprivation, and forced displacement, the scope and scale of which has shocked the world. This hearing examined the human toll the war is taking on the people of Ukraine. It also underscored the importance of […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Hearing to Highlight Life in Ukr...

Jul 15, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing: BEHIND ENEMY LINES Life in Ukraine’s Newly Occupied Territories Wednesday, July 20, 2022 2:30 p.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 Watch live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission As Russia’s genocidal war against Ukraine continues, Ukrainians in occupied territories are […]

screen-reader-text
Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest May 2022

Jun 01, 2022

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Supporting Ukrainian Refugees

May 25, 2022

More than 6 million Ukrainians have had to flee their country due to Russia’s brutal war of aggression. Most have entered bordering EU states, with more than half of those going to Poland. Poland and other frontline countries acted swiftly not only by opening their borders to Ukrainians, but also by enacting policies and legislation […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Support for Ukrainian Refugees to Be Discussed at He...

May 20, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing: SUPPORTING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES U.S. Policy and Visa Issuance Wednesday, May 25, 2022 2:30 p.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 Watch live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission More than 6 million Ukrainians have had to flee their country due to […]

screen-reader-text
Publications

Helsinki Commission Digital Digest April 2022

Apr 29, 2022

screen-reader-text
Briefings

Diverse Voices Reporting From Ukraine

Apr 20, 2022

Journalists in Ukraine risk their lives daily to report the reality of war. Credible, on-the-ground reporting has documented war crimes committed by Russian forces and the continued bombardment of Ukrainian cities, targeting civilians and critical infrastructure and displacing millions. So far, at least seven journalists have been killed, and others injured, while covering Russia’s genocidal […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Journalists Reporting from Ukraine to Speak at Helsi...

Apr 13, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following online staff briefing: DIVERSE VOICES REPORTING FROM UKRAINE Wednesday, April 20, 2022 10:00 a.m. Register: https://bit.ly/3E89IZX Journalists in Ukraine risk their lives daily to report the reality of war. Credible, on-the-ground reporting has documented war crimes committed […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Protecting Ukrainian Refugees from Human Trafficking...

Apr 01, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing: PROTECTING UKRAINIAN REFUGEES FROM HUMAN TRAFFICKING Thursday, April 7, 2022 10:30 a.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 562 Watch live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission More than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia’s massive invasion on February 24, […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Recognizes Key Contributions fro...

Mar 08, 2022

WASHINGTON—In light of Russia’s continued criminal war on the peaceful citizens of Ukraine, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), and Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following joint statement: “Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s barbaric war against the Ukrainian people has inspired […]

screen-reader-text