"There are 750,000 Iraqis living in Jordan with all of the horrors of refugees – and none of the benefits." Noah Merrill, consultant to AFSC's Middle East Task Force, says after six weeks he spent with refugees from the Iraq war who are now living in Jordan.
"Undocumented," we know from our own work with immigrants arriving in this country without legal status, means they live in the shadows; no legal work, no access to healthcare, and education is a risk. Forced by war out of their own country, the displaced Iraqis are without welcome in neighboring countries.
"Before pointing your finger at Jordan, understand the US role in all of this," Noah cautioned. "The US knows how to tear things down—we just don't know how to build them back up."
With a hint of sarcasm in his voice, Noah notes, "Refugees do not come from democracies...The Iraqi refugee crisis is our responsibility. An earthquake did not hit Iraq. This is a political disease with a political solution." The solution is not more rockets and tanks. "We have," Noah said, "a responsibility to rebuild and pay reparations and create a space for a diplomatic process with all the players in the region."
Fifty thousand Iraqis are fleeing their homeland each month.