The List: A Mission To Save Iraqi Lives

Branded As Collaborators By Insurgents, Many Iraqis Who Helped The U.S. Face Grave Danger

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So how did this become Kirk Johnson's problem? It started in 2006, when he worked in Iraq for the U.S. Agency for International Development. One of his friends, an Iraqi co-worker, was eventually marked by the enemy as a "collaborator."

"And within 24 hours he found a severed dog's head on his front steps with a note pinned to it saying that his head would be next. He took that note to our employer to USAID, the United States government, and he said 'I need your help. I'm gonna get killed if I don't find some sort of safe house or some kind of protection. Because they know now that I work for you all.' And USAID, they basically told him, 'That's really unfortunate, good luck with things, if you're not back here in one month we're going to give your job away to somebody else,'" Johnson says.

The man became a refugee. Johnson got him a lawyer, lobbied the State Department, and managed to get him into the U.S. He's settled near Chicago and is living with Johnson's parents. After Johnson figured out how to get one refugee in, hundreds began pleading for his help.

60 Minutes met another refugee in Jordan named Hayder, who served as a translator for the 82nd Airborne Division.

He lost a leg in a firefight while trying to pull an American to safety. After years in Jordan, Pelley found Hayder preparing his paperwork for his ninth interview with the officials who decide whether he can come to the U.S.

"What's the most important thing you're going to say today to the people who are going to be decided whether you can come to America?" Pelley asks.

"I'm going to tell them, 'Hello, I've been waiting for you for more than three years and two months.' It's like am I gonna be reborn? Or am I gonna die today? If they're gonna tell me or give me approval to go to America, that means my life is gonna be reborn again. But if they say no, that means I have to go back to Iraq because I can't even stay in Jordan no more," he says.

Hayder insists he can't go back to Iraq now. "Because I'll get killed. I'll be 100 percent killed," he says.

Like many refugees, Hayder is burning through his savings, since he's not allowed to get a job in Jordan. He could be forced back any time.

"The Iraqis that work for us live secret lives. They do everything they can to keep their work with us a secret. But it only takes one mistake for that affiliation to become lethal. And we had one colleague, an Iraqi that worked with me at USAID, he was reaching into his pocket to pay for a haircut and dropped his badge and that's what got him killed," Johnson says.

U.S. allies understand the danger. When the British pulled out of Basra they offered to take all their Iraqi workers to Britain; the Danish took their Iraqi workers home as well. So far the United States has taken 5,700. But Sweden, which has no role in the war, has taken 40,000 refugees.