Written by Robert Smith Netta Hana fled Iraq with her family in 1992 and since then all have become U.S. citizens and professionals, except one brother — who was among dozens of local Chaldeans facing deportation as federal immigration agents ramped up its arrests over the weekend. Hana’s brother, whom she declined to name out of fear, arrived here when he was 9 years old. But he committed a felony of possessing opioids when he was in his 20s and served eight years in prison. After being arrested by federal immigration officials on Sunday, Hana said her 33-year-old brother now faces another debt to society that is too steep: deportation back to Iraq, a country where he doesn’t speak the language and fears being killed by the Islamic State because he has religious tattoos indicating he is Christian, a minority in the country that is targeted by militants. “He made a mistake,” Hana, 38, said of her brother, who has a green card. “He doesn’t deserve to die for it. He is a prime target for the radicals to target him. Just because he committed a crime doesn’t mean he has to be treated like an animal. He’s a human being.” Hana’s brother is among dozens of local Iraqi Christians facing deportation in the wake of the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Activists have called the potential deportations to Iraq, which began in April for the first time in seven years, a human rights violation because of the genocide against Iraqi Christians by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The country has been steeped in politics: For years, Iraq has not accepted deportees from the U.S. without travel documents in an effort to secure its border against terrorists. In January, the Trump administration included Iraq among seven Muslim-majority countries with a temporary travel ban but Iraq was dropped in March, when a new policy was negotiated between Iraq and U.S. Since that March 12 agreement with Iraq, eight Iraqi nationals have been removed from the U.S. and sent to Iraq, said Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It was not immediately clear how many of the eight were from Michigan. In a sweep to continue efforts to deport Iraqi nationals with criminal records, several dozen people were arrested Sunday in Metro Detroit. Relatives of the immigrants confirmed the arrests, saying they seemed focused on the Iraqi Chaldean community. Walls confirmed the agency had arrested Iraqis. “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,” he said in a statement Monday. “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,” Walls said. Relatives of the immigrants confirmed the arrests, saying they seemed focused on the Iraqi Christian, or Chaldean, community. Many Chaldean leaders were concerned because atrocities have been inflicted on Christians and ethnic minorities in Iraq, acts that the U.S. has declared . “I really can’t put into words what I saw today,” said Nathan Kalasho, an activist and founder of Key Grace Academy Charter School, which educates hundreds of refugee children. “Today, I’m ashamed to be an American.” Kalasho, his sister, Nadine, and others — and opened the school for families to get legal representation starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, and worked through the night. “It’s frustrating and confusing because we were given limited information about the operation,” Kalasho said. “We are trying to compile as much as information as possible to make sure the families affected have information and legal counsel.” Nationally, immigration arrests have risen this year with the election of President Donald Trump, who campaigned on tightening immigration enforcement and, in January, issued an executive order denying federal funds to cities giving sanctuary to illegal immigrants. A federal judge in California temporarily blocked the order in April but federal agents, feeling emboldened by the president’s support, have performed more arrest sweeps than in recent years. Immigration arrests jumped nearly 40 percent in early 2017, according to the Associated Press. The Metro Detroit arrests, which occurred as early as 7 a.m. Sunday, were made in areas around Dearborn, Warren and Sterling Heights, said relatives of the arrested immigrants. Besides Chaldeans, Muslims also were among the arrested. The immigrants were taken to the U.S. Detention and Deportation Center in Detroit, where they awaited bus rides later in the day to the Northeast Correctional Center in Youngstown, Ohio, said family members. Walls said the “vast majority of those taken into custody” were detained at the northeast Ohio facility. At the detention center in Detroit, 80 family members and others gathered along an iron fence to learn what would happen to their loved ones. “On Sunday, family day, God’s day, they decide on raiding people’s homes,” said Kalasho, who had spent most of the day outside the detention center. He said the family of one immigrant told him the immigrant had spoken to federal officials one week earlier, and they told him there were no problems with his immigration status. The relatives huddled with immigration attorneys through the day to learn what, if anything, they could do about their loved ones. The Detroit arrests follow by one week a similar sweep in Texas and Oklahoma, where 70 immigrants were arrested over a three-day period. That sweep also targeted immigrants with criminal records, according to local press accounts.