US immigration representatives reportedly arrested dozens of Iraqi Christians in southeastern Michigan, and their family and friends are protesting the arrests and deportations back to Iraq claiming that they will be slaughtered upon their return.
Over the past 13 years, nearly 80 percent of Christians who lived in Iraq have left the country. The country had been home to roughly 1.5 million Christians in 2003. Today, there are less than 300,000.
The Associated Press reported:
DETROIT – The arrests of dozens of Iraqi Christians in southeastern Michigan by U.S. immigration officials appear to be among the first roundups of people from Iraq who have long faced deportation, underscoring rising concerns in other immigrant communities.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Monday declined to say how many were taken into custody, but advocates say at least 40 people were arrested near or at homes, mostly on Sunday. Roughly 100 people protested Sunday at a Detroit detention center, many expressing their concern for the arrestees’ safety.
The arrests come amid broader, aggressive immigration policies by the Trump administration. Immigrants who already have deportation orders and were allowed to stay in the country under the prior administration have become a target under President Donald Trump, with some getting arrested on the spot during check-ins with officers. Such arrests have dismayed family members and sent chills through immigrant communities.
ICE said the Detroit-area arrests were part of its efforts to deal with a case backlog, and the vast majority of those arrested were being detained at a facility in Youngstown, Ohio. Officials said they don’t confirm specific deportation plans.
The arrests captured both Muslims and Christians.
ICE issued a statement in which they said:
As a result of recent negotiations between the U.S. and Iraq, Iraq has recently agreed to accept a number of Iraqi nationals subject to orders of removal.As part of ICE’s efforts to process the backlog of these individuals, the agency recently arrested a number of Iraqi nationals, all of whom had criminal convictions for crimes including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, robbery, sex assault, weapons violations and other offenses. Each of these individuals received full and fair immigration proceedings, after which a federal immigration judge found them ineligible for any form of relief under U.S. law and ordered them removed.
However, on Sunday, outside an ICE office in Detroit, dozens of people protested the arrests.
“I voted for Trump thinking he would protect ethnic minorities,” Shantal Hanna, whose husband was detained, said. “Now it’s blowing up in my face.”
“There’s a reason why we fled our country,” said Zeinab Al-Badry, whose husband was also detained. “It’s not to have fun in America, but to be safe.”
“If you go to Iraq and pass by ISIS, they are going to get killed,” Junior Seiba, whose cousin was detained, said.
Many family members claim that some of those arrested had come to America legally, are married to US citizens and have children born in America.
Jeremiah Suleiman, whose uncle was detained, said his relative has been in the United States for 35 years.
“We are trying to rebuild our lives,” said one of the people whose family member was detained. “Why are you trying to punish people who made one mistake? Everyone makes mistakes.”
While Michigan has become a home to many Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution, it has also become a haven for the infestation of Muslims. Dearborn has become utterly Islamic and the Hamtramck City Council has a Muslim majority. Additionally, Sterling Heights’ residents, most of whom are Chaldean Christians, protested the building of a mosque in their community only to be sold out by the town’s mayor.
I don’t know the background of all those arrested, but it seems to me that America was a place that took in Christians who sought relief from persecution because our forefathers once sought the very same thing when they came and established this country hundreds of years ago.