Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Action alert

Stephen M. Colecchi, Director of the Office of International Justice and Peace for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has distributed the following:

For a long time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for a "responsible transition" to bring an end to the war in Iraq "as soon as possible." A major component of a "responsible transition" is the protection of vulnerable populations, including refugees and internally displaced persons. Their humanitarian situation is dire.

Below you will find the text of an "Action Alert" related to Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons. Please contact your Senators and urge them to support the bipartisan REFUGEE CRISIS IN IRAQ AMENDMENT to the Defense Authorization bill.

It is urgent that you contact your Senators by September 20. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of vulnerable Iraqis.

More information follows:

The content of the amendment is the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Bill (S. 1651)


There are more than 4.2 million refugees and displaced persons in and around Iraq

Many have helped U.S. troops and are thus now targeted by insurgents

Vulnerable groups – including Christian Chaldeans and Mandeans - face exploitation and shortages of food and clean water

The United States has only admitted 719 Iraqi refugees so far this year*

Other countries in the region are closing their borders, leaving those fleeing persecution nowhere to go

The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Amendment would:

Prioritize vulnerable Iraqi refugees who fear death by insurgents

Provide expedited special immigrant visas for Iraqis who helped U.S. troops

Allow persecuted individuals to apply for refugee status from within Iraq

Tell your Senators:

Whether we support or oppose the war, we can all agree that vulnerable refugees deserve our protection

The bill should be included in the Defense Authorization bill, since the safety of refugees directly impacts the stability of Iraq

They should cosponsor and vote YES on this bipartisan, humanitarian bill

Please phone, fax, or email your Senators by September 20, the date most amendments will be offered to the Defense Authorization bill. Call 202-224-3121 or find your Senators’ phone numbers at or by following our links.
*To be admitted to the United States, Iraqis must pass extended screening processes in addition to rigorous background checks and security procedures mandated for all refugees

The Bill is sponsored by Senator Kennedy (MA)
Cosponsors as of Sept. 12, 2007: Biden (DE), Brownback (KS), Durbin (IL), Feinstein (CA), Hagel (NE), Leahy (VT), Levin (MI), Lieberman (CT), Menendez (NJ), Smith (OR), Voinovich (OH), Whitehouse (RI) & Wyden (OR)