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Sun March 24, 2013
Visas slow for Iraqis who helped U.S. war efforts
The federal government has issued less than a quarter of 25,000 visas created for Iraqis who helped American efforts during the Iraq War and the program is set to end this year.
As the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the war, advocates and a group of Republican and Democratic congress members are urging the Obama Administration to extend and reform the visa program.
The State Department reports that it has issued 5,500 of the 25,000 available visas.
The department says there haven't been as many applicants as there are visas. They say Iraqis can also come to the U.S. through the refugee program, which has resettled more than 80,000.
Advocates say the requirements to apply for the visas can be unnecessarily onerous, with extensive paperwork, timelines and agencies involved.