Congress members urge delay in deporting Iraqi nationals

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By Steve CarmodyEleven members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are urging federal immigration officials to hold off on deporting hundreds of Iraqi nationals.

This week, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to reconsider a December ruling that overturned a Detroit judge’s decision that blocked the deportation of hundreds of Iraqi immigrants with criminal records. The ruling opens the door for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to begin deportations next week. In a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, the congressional delegation says among the Iraqis are numerous Chaldean Christians and other religious minorities who would face grave danger if deported to Iraq. “This is about fairness and it is about humanity,” says Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI 9th District), “It would be unconscionable for ICE to move forward with mass detention and deportation of Iraqis—many of whom are Chaldean Christians who would face religious persecution in Iraq.” The letter asks the Administration to use its authority and discretion to defer deporting members of this group.