The United States began interviewing refugees in Baghdad last year.
The first wave of refugees have already made their way to the US. 12,118 have landed while another 1,000 have their bookings to travel by the end of this month.
Last year only 1,600 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the US. That small number drew criticism from the international community who thought that the US should be doing more. The Iraqi refugee crisis begun in March 2003 when the US invaded Iraq.
Since 2003 Sweden has welcomed over 40,000 refugees.
This year the United States has spent over $318 million helping to take care of the Iraqi refugees.
Foley said he was grateful that Syria, a country with which the United States has strained relations, had agreed to a new facility for refugee processing, which would enable Washington to handle larger numbers of refugees.
“Despite the vagaries in our bilateral relationship which all are familiar with, I think we have managed to agree that for humanitarian purposes we will together make this happen for the sake of the Iraqi refugees,” he said.