Sunday, June 18, 2017

ICE Roundup of Chaldean Christians Leads To Lawsuit

Last week ACLU of Michigan sued to stop the deportation of 114 Iraqi nationals, many of whom are Chaldean Christians, who were arrested in immigration raids in metropolitan Detroit. Some of the Iraqis arrested were Shiite Muslims and converts to Christianity, while raids in other states arrested Kurdish and Yezidi Iraqis. According to the complaint (full text) in Hamama v. Adducci, (ED MI, filed 6/15/2017):
U.S. law prohibits the removal of individuals to countries where they would face a likelihood of persecution or torture. Yet despite the clear danger that many of these individuals face in Iraq, ICE is attempting to deport them based on outstanding removal orders that do not take account of intervening changed circumstances which should entitle them to protection. For example, many of the Petitioners are Chaldean Christians, who are widely recognized as targets of brutal persecution in Iraq.... Nonetheless, Chaldeans whose order of removal was entered years ago are now facing removal to Iraq as if nothing has changed, and without any inquiry into the dangers they would currently face.
ACLU in a press release  announcing the filing of the lawsuit says:
The arrests come in the wake of a recent deal between Iraq and the US that removes Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority nations whose citizens could be prohibited from coming to the US under an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump. In exchange for removal from that list, Iraq has agreed to accept Iraqi nationals sent back to the country by US immigration officials, a sudden reversal of a long-standing policy against repatriation.
As reported yesterday by the Washington Post, evangelist Franklin Graham last week urged the President to look further into the issue in light of Trump's promise earlier this year that he would give priority to persecuted Christians.