Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) – The Chaldean Patriarchate, led by Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, is following with concern the story of Iraqis who have been residents of the United States of America for a long time and are now being sent back to their home country because they have not yet obtained the necessary documents to obtain US citizenship, or because accused of committing crimes. In a statement released on Monday, July 20, the Chaldean Patriarchate defined this measure ordered by the US Administration as a form of “inhuman and immoral” deportation, because it affects people residing in the USA for many years, sometimes forced to separate from their family or bring children born in America to Iraq who do not speak Arabic, thus exposing the whole family to the risk of social isolation and the lack of work and livelihoods. The patriarchal pronouncement, released through the official channels of the Chaldean Patriarchate, hopes for a rethinking by the US Administration, and protects the rights and family peace of potential Iraqi victims of expulsion.
On Thursday, July 2, the United States Supreme Court did not accept the request made by a large group of Iraqis to urge the blocking of the provisions of expulsion and forced return to Iraq issued against them by the US judicial systems.
The affair involves about 1,400 Iraqis residing in the United States, some of whom have long been hit by deportation measures, imposed after they were tried for committing crimes. Many of them, in petitions submitted to evade expulsion orders, claimed that forced repatriation to Iraq exposed them to the risk of suffering “torture and persecution”. Until a few years ago, it was Iraqi governments themselves that opposed the forced repatriation of their fellow citizens residing in the US and hit by deportation measures. The situation has changed since June 2017, thanks to the new immigration rules implemented by the Trump Administration. These rules also led to the arrest in June 2017 of 114 Iraqis on the orders of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE, the US federal agency responsible for border security and immigration control). In the following weeks, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 25/7/2017), a judge, Mark Goldsmith in Detroit temporarily halted the deportations of Chaldean Christians and other Iraqi immigrants. Goldsmith also pointed out that the criminal and judicial cases weighing on many of the Iraqis threatened with deportation were actually “dormant” cases. The operation was implemented after the agreement between the United States and Iraq with which the government of Baghdad had agreed to host a number of Iraqi citizens subjected to the expulsion order, while being removed from the black list of affected nations from the so-called “Muslim ban”, wanted by President Donald Trump to prevent access to the United States for citizens from six Muslim majority countries considered as potential “exporters” of terrorists. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 21/7/2020)