34 images Created 7 Nov 2013
The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S. and its allies killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, injured many more and devastated countless lives. Violence and sectarian strife have displaced 2 million Iraqis within the country and caused 2 million more to flee Iraq. At the height of the exodus in 2008, five years after the invasion, the United States had only accepted a few hundred Iraqi refugees. The scale of the Iraqi refugee crisis forced the U.S. government to change its policies and to begin facilitating the resettlement of Iraqi refugees who were threatened due to their association with the occupation. In the past five years, between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqi refugees have been arriving annually in the United States to begin rebuilding their lives, however they are arriving during the worst economic crisis the U.S. has known in over 80 years. Resettlement benefits and assistance last a very short time and refugees soon find themselves competing for jobs and housing with millions of out-of-work Americans. Contrary to some refugee populations, the majority of Iraqi refugees are well-educated, middle class people who had a comfortable standard of living in Iraq despite the insecurity and violence. They struggle to adapt to American culture and to accept menial jobs to survive despite their skills and experience. Over the past few decades, Iraqis have and continue to suffer ineffable human tragedies. The United States has a moral obligation to assist those Iraqis who can no longer live in their country as a result of the American intervention.