[This is excerpted from Peace Action's letter we endorsed. It is technical, and pinpoints Obama's previous promises to help.
You can write your own...if you are willing to take the few minutes to help. We know you care, now let's see you take the simple action of writing to Obama. We know he listens to mail!]
Dear President Obama,
We urge you to continue non-military support of Iraqis. Lasting success in Iraq depends upon strengthening Iraqi civil society, addressing the refugee crisis, and providing meaningful development. We must ensure that ending the U.S. military operations does not lead to ending the U.S.
humanitarian and development assistance.
Any successful plan for helping displaced Iraqis must examine these three
* Local Integration and humanitarian aid: The U.S. government, in coordination with the Iraqi government and host governments, should push for more efficient systems for visas, residency and access to education and healthcare.
* Resettlement: Resettlement is an essential tool for protecting the most vulnerable Iraqis and for sharing the burden of hosting them. We urge you to commit to accepting 50% of the Iraqi refugees identified by the UNHCR for resettlement.
* Voluntary Repatriation: The U.S. government should work with Iraq, Syria, Jordan and other host countries to help displaced Iraqis return home.
In a report published this July, the State Department's Inspector General recommended ending the Provincial Reconstruction Teams by 2011. Eliminating the Provincial Reconstruction Teams requires a transitional plan to handover the reconstruction work to Iraqis and to fund Iraqi NGOs, especially Community Based Organizations.
II. The Budget
We ask you to fulfill your promise by increasing the funds allocated in the FY11 budget for the State Department's Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau (PRM) and for USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
In addition, we ask that you support the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund to meet unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs. Money appropriated to the ERMA fund remains available until expended, creating an important backup emergency reserve.
We would also recommend that the federal agencies involved in the resettlement process, including the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrations (PRM), and other
relevant offices in the Department of Homeland Security are well-coordinated and adequately funded to ensure a smooth and efficient resettlement process.
Finally, the U.S. government should urge the Iraqi government to spend more of its resources on displaced Iraqis inside Iraq and in the region. The U.S. government should also encourage regional governments and organizations to participate in funding projects aimed at helping displaced Iraqis.
In loving kindness,
Bruce Wallace and Noor