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Cablegate: Siv Eligibility of Iraqis Working Under

VZCZCXRO0450
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2083/01 1881209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061209Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8147
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002083

CA FOR DAS TONY EDSON; PRM FOR AMB FOLEY
USAID ME/AA FOR JIM BEVER; ME/IR FOR JEANNE PRYOR;
GC/ANE FOR MICHELLE GODETTE AND ARNOLD HAIMAN

AIDAC

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS IZ PHUM PREF PGOV SMIG SOCI UN
SUBJECT: SIV ELIGIBILITY OF IRAQIS WORKING UNDER
GRANTS OR COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS

BAGHDAD 00002083 001.2 OF 002


1. Section 1244 of Public Law 110-181, the Defense
Authorization Act of 2008 (the Refugee Crisis in
Iraq Act), greatly expanded the eligibility criteria
for special immigration status for Iraqi nationals
employed by or on behalf of the United States
Government in Iraq on or after March 2003, for a
period of not less than one year. As currently
written, N2 of the draft 9 FAM 42.32 (d) (11),
dealing with eligibility, is unclear whether it
would include Iraqi citizen employees working on
behalf of U.S. grantees and recipients of U.S.
cooperative agreements.

2. The proposed regulations appear to restrict
eligibility to Iraqi United States Government (USG)
employees and Iraqi employees of contractors working
on behalf of the USG. Restricting eligibility to USG
employees and employees of USG contractors will
adversely affect a significant number of Iraqis
employed by U.S. grantees and U.S. cooperative
agreement recipients. Moreover, the restriction is
arbitrary and unfair to such individuals and appears
contrary to the broad language and intent of the
Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act.

3. In pertinent part, Section 1244 (b)(1)(B)
specifically deems an Iraqi eligible for special
immigration status if that person ?(B) was or is
employed by or on behalf of the United States
Government in Iraq, on or after March 20, 2003, for
not less than one year.? The legislation does not
define what it means to be employed ?on behalf of?
the USG. Post believes that no distinction should
be made between Iraqis employed on behalf of the USG
by USG contractors and those employed on behalf of
the USG by grantees or recipients of cooperative
agreements. Further, Section 1243 (a)(2)(B) of the
Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act specifically includes as
eligible under the Refugee Admissions Program those
Iraqis who were or are employed by ?an organization
or entity closely associated with the United States
mission in Iraq that has received United States
Government (USG) funding through an official and
documented contract, award, grant, or cooperative
agreement." It is not clear to Post that Congress
intended to treat eligibility requirements for
Iraqis under the SIV program more narrowly than in
the Refugee Admissions Program and to exclude Iraqis
employed by an organization or entity that has
received USG funding through a grant or cooperative
agreement.

4. Section 1244 purposefully created a program with
less stringent eligibility requirements than section
1059 of Public Law 109-163, the National Defense
Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2006, as amended by
Public Law 110-36 (2007), which granted special
immigration status to a limited set of Iraqi
citizens employed as translators and interpreters
for the U.S. military or under Chief of Mission
authority. The intent behind Section 1244 is to
provide special immigration status to a broader
group of Iraqi citizens who have provided faithful
and valuable service to the USG and as a result of
such service have experienced or are experiencing an
ongoing threat. Concededly, indigenous grantees and
indigenous recipients of aid provided under programs
financed through cooperative agreements would not
meet the eligibility criteria. However, the
legislation does not distinguish between persons who
work ?on behalf of? the USG via employment with USG
contractors and persons working ?for or on behalf
of? the USG via employment with U.S. cooperative
agreement recipients or U.S. grantees. Regulations
limiting eligibility to Iraqi citizens who are
working or have worked for USG contractors appears
contrary to the legislative intent of Section 1244.

5. Cooperative agreements and grants make up a
significant portion of USAID?s programs dollar-wise.
For example, a snapshot of USAID/Iraq?s Program on
April 7, 2008, reveals a total amount of
$799,489,629 awarded in grants or cooperative
agreements. This compares to a total amount of
$1,400,498,610 awarded under contracts. (These
amounts do not include USAID?s program, for

BAGHDAD 00002083 002.2 OF 002


Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief and
Internally Displaced Persons which involves a
mixture of cooperative agreements, grants and
contracts with a total value of $254,100,193.)

6. USAID/Iraq Programs financed by such cooperative
agreements and grants employ large numbers of Iraqi
citizens who are providing valuable services on
behalf of the USG. For example, Cooperative Housing
Foundation International (CHF) and the U.S. NGO sub-
grantee partners, which implement USAID?s $150
million Community Action Program II (CAP II) through
a cooperative agreement, presently employ
approximately 500 Iraqis. These Iraqi employees are
not the recipients of aid, but rather assist in
implementing the program so that aid reaches the
indigenous community population. As another
example, a recent survey done for USAID involving
its security sub-contractors/sub-recipients
indicated that there were approximately 503 Iraqi
nationals working for the security sub-contractors
employed under the five major USAID prime contracts.
By contrast, the U.S. cooperative agreements
recipients and grantees of USAID?s five major
programs under cooperative agreements employ
approximately 619 Iraqi security sub-recipient
employees.

7. U.S. cooperative agreement recipients and U.S.
grantees of USAID sponsored programs employ a
significant number of Iraqis. These Iraqis work on
behalf of these recipients/grantees at considerable
risk. The risk and potential threat taken by these
Iraqis is indistinguishable from the risk taken by
Iraqis working on behalf of USAID contractors. The
nature of the financial mechanism for a USAID
program is irrelevant to the malign influences that
threaten Iraqis who have or are providing faithful
and valuable services to or on behalf of the United
States Government.

8. As such, Embassy Baghdad requests the Department
revise the definition of ?contractor? in the
proposed FAM notes to include U.S. recipients of
cooperative agreements and U.S. grantees, or add a
new definition, so that Iraqi employees working for
or on behalf of such recipients/grantees will also
be eligible for special immigration status.

CROCKER

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