WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure providing special visas for Iraqis who risked their lives to help the United States.
The special visa has allowed more than 12,000 Iraqi contractors, interpreters and others who aided U.S. efforts, and their family members, to move to the U.S. since 2007. It expired earlier this week, with about 2,000 applications still pending.
In a rare instance of bipartisanship, both chambers of Congress passed the measure within hours of each other this week.
The program was created during the worst years of the Iraq war, with Iraqis who helped U.S. forces facing targeted killings and death threats. The goal was to resettle them in the U.S. faster than the general refugee process might allow.