Washington, DC, June 13, 2017- Dozens of Iraqi Christians in southeastern Michigan have been arrested by U.S. immigration officials. These arrests appears to be the first wave facing those who have long been concerned about deportation.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have reportedly declined to say how many were taken into custody, but advocates say at least 40 people have been arrested since Sunday. On Sunday around 100 people protested at a Detroit detention center, many expressing their concern for the arrestees’ safety.
IDC Executive Director Philippe Nassif stated, “IDC calls for an immediate case-by-case review of all Iraqi deportee cases where the victims come from communities that have been recognized by the U.S. government as having suffered genocide. Deporting members of these communities may place these Christians in great danger.
In 2016, the U.S. government recognized that genocide had occurred against Iraq’s Christian community. This recognition strongly suggests an additional layer of scrutiny is merited in the cases of genocide victim communities.
“Nonviolent criminals who’ve paid their debt to society and who are certain to be targeted for persecution, or worse, should not be deported,” Nassif added.
Some of these Christians have been living in Michigan for over 40 years and are reportedly facing deportation within 48 hours to Iraq.
The Detroit area has one of the largest Iraqi Christian communities in the U.S.