It refers to the special immigrant visa and refugee programs designed to help US-affiliated Iraqis facing danger in Iraq to come to the United States (the route by which most of the individuals in the article got here):
For years after the American invasion of Iraq, thousands of Iraqis clamored
for admission to the United States and found the door all but closed — until the
government reacted to widespread criticism in 2007 by making it easier for more
to enter with special visas or as refugees.
Human Rights First has been monitoring these programs, and we issued a report in April including assessments and recommendations. Read more about our Lifeline for Iraqi Refugees project.