While running for president, Donald Trump promised that his immigration policy would not break up families. He has broken that promise. I have posted a number of articles on this blog in past weeks telling the stories of men and women who face deportation, sometimes because of minor crimes they committed years, even decades, ago and sometimes simply because the United States does not yet have a process whereby people who may have come to this country illegally many years, even decades, ago can become United States citizens. These people often face being deported to a country that is ostensibly their “home” country, but one to which they’ve not lived in in decades, have no family or connections, and don’t even speak the language.
Now the danger of this policy has been raised to a new level. Recently, agents of ICE have rounded up for deportation to Iraq hundreds of Chaldean Christians in Michigan. Most of these men and women are guilty of minor crimes from many years ago, though some are guilty of more serious crimes and have even done terms in prison. Some are veterans of the U. S. military. Some are business owners. Most are members of families they have raised in the United States. Many have been here since they were children, brought by their parents in an effort to escape war and persecution of their faith. They have no family or connections in Iraq. They don’t speak Arabic. And, they are Christians, which means they will be targeted for persecution and even death on their return.
Trump placed Iraq on his list of countries from which people were temporarily banned to enter the United States. In what has to be a contender for a Nobel Prize in Cynicism, the Trump administration has cut a deal with Iraq that would remove them from that list if they agree to take in deported Iraqis, which they’ve refused to do since 2010. Again, the vast majority of these Iraqis facing deportation are Christians, Catholic Christians of the Chaldean Church. Should they be deported to Iraq, their lives will be in danger by virtue of their Christian faith.
The ACLU is fighting for these Chaldean Christians. So should we all. The ACLU, by the way, is a sworn enemy of the Catholic Church, and it does make me wonder where the line is for Catholic lawyers eager to help protect their confreres. But, that’s a side question. The important point is, THIS MUST NOT STAND! These men and women must not be put in danger of their lives because of a wrong-headed immigration policy that takes into consideration nothing other than: “Did you enter the U. S. legally?” and “Have you committed any crime whatsoever, no matter how petty or distant in the past?”
I’ve placed a call to the Chaldean Community Foundation. I’m awaiting a return call from one of their members letting me know how ordinary citizens can help. I’ll pass on here what they recommend. One thing we can do for sure is contact our Senators and Representative in Congress and tell them that this action must not stand, that these people must not be deported to a country that is not their home and where they face a serious threat of persecution, harm, and possibly even death.
Sen. Lamar Alexander: (202) 224-4944
Sen. Bob Corker: 202-224-3344
Rep. Jimmy Duncan: (202) 225-5435
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.