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U.S. Lawmakers Extend Special Iraqi Visa Program

President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation that will provide special U.S. visas for Iraqis who risked their lives to work as translators or guides for the American military.

Lawmakers from the rival Democratic and Republican parties took a break from their dispute over government spending and voted to extend the Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa program for three months.

The program had expired this week, at the start of the new fiscal year.

Upward of 2,000 visa applications from Iraqis are currently waiting for approval, and some applicants say they fear retribution from some Iraqis for having helped U.S. forces.

The program has so far allowed more than 12,000 Iraqis and family members move to the United States since 2007, according to AP.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters