ASIA/IRAQ - Chaldean Patriarch: "sadness and concern" for the issue of Iraqi Christians whom the US government wants to expel

Friday, 23 June 2017 oriental churches   geopolitics  


Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - The Chaldean Church closely follows, with sadness and concern, the developments in the judicial proceedings with which the United States of America is preparing to expel 114 Iraqis, largely Chaldean Christians, arrested and affected by the expulsion measure, due to new measures taken by Trump’s administration to counter migratory flows from Middle Eastern Countries, considered at risk of terrorist infiltration. In a letter sent to Chaldean Bishop Frank Kalabat, at the head of the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, the Patriarch expresses solidarity and closeness to Iraqi families affected by expulsion orders and hopes that the US government finds adequate solutions to the humanitarian emergency caused by the expulsion measures, also directed against familes with young children, who live and work in the US. The Patriarch notes that many of the Iraqi refugees have lived in the US for a long time, and cannot be suspected of representing a danger to US national security. In the patriarchal letter, it also refers that the government of Baghdad has declared its impossibility to interfere with what represents a "sovereign decision" of another Country. The issue - the Patriarch adds in his letter - can still help everyone to understand the importance of having legal documents that guarantee their status from a legal point of view.
Iraqi Chaldean Christians affected by expulsion measures were arrested in Detroit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) policemen on June 12th. Most of them are men who have resided in the States for decades. The operation follows the agreement between the United States and Iraq, with which the government of Baghdad agreed to host a number of Iraqi citizens subjected to the expulsion measure, in order to be be removed from the blacklist of nations affected by the so-called " Muslim ban", the ban President Donald Trump wanted to prevent access to the US regarding citizens from six Countries with a Muslim majority considered as potential "exporters" of terrorists. Some of the Christians arrested had in the past had problems with justice, an element which according to the police would justify the decision to subject them to the measure of forced repatriation in Iraq. On Thursday, June 22, district court judge Mark Goldsmith suspended the expulsion proceedings for 14 days, during which he will have to decide whether his court has jurisdiction to rule on the whole affair. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/6/2017)