San Diego County is home to about 80,000 Iraqis and it could begin to see more.
Eight weeks ago, El Cajon’s Mark Arabo began hearing from the local Chaldean community that their relatives back home in Iraq were being displaced or violently killed by Islamic State, or ISIS, militants. The extremist group is targeting religious minorities, including Chaldean Catholics, in a brutal offensive aimed at establishing a Muslim state across Syria and Iraq. Arabo, a member of the Chaldean Church and president of a local group that represents predominantly immigrant convenience store owners, wants Iraqi minorities airlifted from the country and set on a quick path to asylum.
Arabo is working with Rep. Juan Vargas, the White House and the United Nations to clear that path. Arabo sounded the alarm that led to a House resolution urging action and to airstrikes and humanitarian aid ordered by President Obama, said Vargas’s chief of staff, Tim Walsh.
“I’d call Mark a hero. That’s what I’d call him,” said Walsh. “Mark was one of the earliest ones shouting from the mountaintop, saying we have to do something. If we find the right solution, Mark has saved a lot of lives.”
Arabo said a three-day visit to the U.N. last week helped secure international humanitarian aid, sanctions against ISIS supporters and promises from Australia, France and Sweden to begin taking in Iraqi asylum-seekers. The United States has yet to make any promises on granting asylum. It has already accepted more than 74,000 Iraqi refugees since 2003, and will continue to do so. But there’s a limit to how many it will take each year. Arabo wants to the U.S. government to set the cap aside (or move it up) and get people out of the country now.
Here’s how that might work.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
This man deserves the Voice of Humanities award. He is a great beacon of hope for those who are struggling to survive in Iraq.
Isn't it interesting to note that the only Iraqis who are willing to fight over there are doing it on the other side. Meanwhile we take in the quitters who don't care enough to fight for their own country. Not exactly "yearning to be free", more like yearning for a paycheck from Uncle Sam while encouraging us to send our boys over there to fight.