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THE WORLD

U.S. Reopens Door to Iraqi Refugees

January 11, 2003|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The U.S. briefly suspended its refugee program for Iraqi asylum seekers this week but lifted the suspension Friday, an immigration official said.

Refugee settlement groups had raised a storm of protest.

An Immigration and Naturalization Service official said the resumption of the program was not linked to the protests.

Refugee agencies said earlier that the U.S. had blocked several hundred Iraqi refugees, who had already received security clearances, from entering.

The refugees are mostly in Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Some reportedly had already booked flights.

"They have undergone new, very rigorous security reviews by the FBI and CIA that were put in place after Sept. 11, 2001," said Lavinia Limon, director of the private U.S. Committee for Refugees.

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