The iraqi people are being swept up in immigration raids across the united states and targeted for deportation by the Trumpet of the administration, the repression of lawyers and advocates described as a “death penalty” for members of Iraq’s Christian minority.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has arrested more than 200 Iraqis during the weekend that have been the object of an expulsion order due to criminal convictions or criminal charges.
One hundred and fourteen people have been arrested in Detroit alone, most of whom are members of Iraq’s Chaldean minority, which, like other Christian groups, has been the target of persecution by the Islamic State and other jihadist groups.
Najah Konja, 55 years old, who was arrested in Detroit on Sunday morning, emigrated to the united states with his family in 1977. No other parents to remain in Iraq, according to his brother, Shoki “Steve” Konja.
“What is he going to do here?” Steve Konja, an AMERICAN citizen, told the Guardian. “Basically, they are sentenced to death.”
Konja said that his brother do not speak Arabic, and that the last member of their family to leave Iraq, has been kidnapped twice and held for ransom because of her parents in the united states. “The government of Iraq can not protect and defend its own citizens – not to mention a bunch of Christians from the united states,” Konja said.
These concerns have been expressed by lawyers, including the Minority Humanitarian Foundation (MHF), who comes to the aid of the Iraqi minorities. MHF planned to file a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the deportation of the Chaldeans of Iraq.
“Donald Trump has essentially given these Christians a death sentence,” said MHF president and founder, Mark Arabo.
“They are savages,’ say Christians forced to flee Mosul by Isis
Last year, secretary of state John Kerry has declared that a genocide was underway against the Christians in Iraq, while the international courts have not officially given the violence of the designation.
ICE spokesman for the agency, Gillian Christensen, said an “overwhelming majority” of those arrested have been convicted of crimes including “homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, theft, drug trafficking, robbery, sexual assault, weapons violations and other crimes.”
In Detroit, Christensen said that the transaction “was specifically to address the very real public safety threat posed by foreign criminals arrested.”
But the lawyers of the community scoffed at this request, arguing that many of the charges were handed down decades ago, and the convicted persons had served their sentences for the crimes.
Konja served 23 years in prison for drug charges and was released in 2009. In prison, he has pursued his GED and helped teach other inmates, his brother said.
For the past eight years, he has worked in a large chain store, where he was a director of operations, overseeing 400 employees. “He has completely turned his life around,” his brother said.
Steve Konaj said the arrest has left him disillusioned with the country he considers his home.
“This is not the united States,” he said. “I’ve been here for 40 years. I believe that in the dream, I believe in the constitution. I love her to death. I am ready to sacrifice myself if necessary, but to tell these people: “You have committed a crime 30 years ago, when you were 19, 20 – now, you have to pay again for this mistake.’”
Iraq had not co-operated with US deportation efforts, but the two countries have negotiated a new policy in March after Trump has issued a travel ban for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq.
The ban was revised after it was struck down in a federal court; the new ban – which is also the subject of a legal challenge – no longer includes Iraq, and removes it from the language which gives priority to the entry for religious minorities, including Christians, from these countries.
Iraqis lament Asset of the travel ban that disregards their service to America
The executive order, said that the rules for Iraq had changed because “the Iraqi government has specifically taken action to improve travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals are subject to final orders of removal.”
A further object of the recent sweep was Nashville, where at least 30 Iraqis were arrested, said local immigration attorney Andrew Free.
Unlike Detroit, the Ice raids have affected the Kurds, the members of the largest ethnic minority in Iraq, who have been fighting Isis alongside AMERICAN soldiers in Syria.
Nashville has the largest population of Kurds in the US. Lawyers and attorneys there, said the Ice raids began by targeting people with a criminal history at the beginning of last week. And then the Ice conducted sweeps of Kurdish neighborhoods, going door-to-door starting at 6 o’clock in the morning.
In response, Drost kokoye, who is a Kurd and one of the founders of the American Muslim Advisory Council, has helped to set up a hotline for people to call in case of Ice, knocks on their door. She said that the hotline has been “buzzing” all day from 6am to 9am for the last week.
The scan has had a chilling effect on the community. Kokoye said that in Nashville, Kurdish mosque, the daily breaking of the fast, the Iftar, the crowd is about a quarter of what it was at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, which began before the Ice raids. She said: “People are terrified, people are confused, people do not feel safe in their homes.”