They Can’t Go Home Again

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But Iraq is a different story.

Admitting that the embattled nation is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis disrupts the narrative that Iraq is stable and the war is winnable. Allowing people from the Arab world to emigrate freely could also brand the GOP as soft on terrorism, a political liability among the party’s conservative base, especially in an election year.

Unless the Congress and the president implement sweeping reforms immediately, the crisis will only worsen; Foley told the House subcommittee that the situation is intensifying and “the most critical problem is increasing impoverishment.”

What’s more, mass displacement could complicate Iraq’s national reconciliation, a process Gen. David Petraeus recently admitted is nowhere near complete. As Iraqis relocate permanently, shifting populations will, in part, determine how certain sects are compensated in a power-sharing deal.

“It’s not only a humanitarian issue, it’s a deeply political issue, too,” says Katulis. “This will necessarily be one component of that [process] that many people have not yet thought of.”

Back in Michigan, the refugees continue to put their lives back together. The Karanas are planning to enroll their son in day care soon, which will allow him to interact with kids his own age. The Rabbans have enjoyed spending time with their extended family, including their daughter.

“We want to build our future here, for ourselves and for our kids,” says Fadi. “We have nothing to build back home.”