Since the February 2006 bombing of the Al-Askari Mosque in Samara that triggered the displacement of thousands of Iraqis, the United States has taken a lead role in resettling the displaced. The administration has indicated its intent to assist those Iraqis who supported the United States in Iraq. In addition, Congress authorized the Departments of Defense (DOD) and State (State) to jointly establish and operate a program to offer temporary employment to Iraqi special immigrant visa (SIV) holders in the United States. This report provides information on the (1) status of resettled Iraqis in the United States and the initial challenges they face, (2) benefits afforded Iraqi refugees and SIV holders, and (3) challenges they face obtaining employment with the federal government. GAO conducted this review under the Comptroller General's authority. GAO analyzed data on Iraqi refugees and SIV holders in the United States, and laws and regulations on the benefits afforded to them. GAO also analyzed U.S. government employment and personnel security requirements. GAO interviewed officials from five key agencies regarding these requirements. This report does not contain recommendations. DOD provided official comments. State and the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services (HHS) provided technical comments. GAO incorporated these comments, as appropriate.
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