Oct 1, 2013 12:18 PM by Bradley Klapper/AP
WASHINGTON (AP) - A measure in Congress passed just before the U.S. government shutdown could provide relief for thousands of Iraqis who risked their lives to help the United States.
The special visa program is designed for Iraqis who worked as contractors, interpreters and others who aided U.S. efforts, as well as their families. The program was set to expire at midnight, with an estimated 2,000 applications still in the pipeline.
But the Senate extended it by unanimous consent a half-hour ahead of Monday night's deadline. The special visa was established in 2007 amid a raft of targeted killings of Iraqis who helped U.S. forces or reconstruction operations.
It has allowed 12,100 Iraqis to resettle in the U.S. Another 91,000 have moved to the U.S. as refugees.