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U.S. Immigration Authorities Target Detroit Area In Crackdown On Iraqi Illegal Immigrants

Immigration reform was a center point of President Donald Trump’s election campaign. However, his proposals to regulate immigration and apply travel restrictions have polarized American society and politics. President Trump’s heavily criticized approach to immigration and travel came to a head when the judiciary openly opposed his travel ban on individuals from Muslim majority states, including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia. A Federal Judge from Hawaii further incensed the Trump Administration after recently blocking a revised form of the travel ban.

As part of President Trump’s immigration strategy, U.S. security agencies and immigration authorities have been granted increased powers and proposed budgetary increases. Immigration authorities appear to be making use of their newfound influence, recently conducting a large-scale arrest of illegal immigrants in the Detroit area. Over the last few weeks and, in particular, last weekend, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 199 immigrants of Iraqi origin. Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, stated that 114 Iraqis had been arrested on the weekend with a further 85 being picked up over the last few weeks.

The news comes after the Trump Administration announced on March 12, 2017, that a deal had been struck with the Iraqi Government, striking Iraq from the list of countries on President Trump’s travel ban, on the condition that the Iraqi Government accepts illegal Iraqi immigrants from America. The arrangement has been praised by several of President Trump’s detractors who have admitted that the deal helps make the deportation of illegal immigrants a safer and more efficient process, especially for felonious illegal immigrants.

At this stage, a large number of the arrestees appear to be felons, with convictions for murder, rape, assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, weapons violations and a slew of other criminal charges. Despite the agreement between Iraq and America, U.S. immigration authorities have only deported 8 of the 1,444 Iraqi nationals currently held for deportation.

The crackdown in Detroit also resulted in the arrest of several dozen Iraqi Chaldean Catholics. Many of these illegal immigrants travelled to America in fear of religious persecution in Iraq. The arrestees’ family and immigration attorneys have expressed their concern that several Iraqi immigrants are marked for death if they return to their home country. Many of the Iraqi immigrants arrested in Detroit travelled to America as children, learning English instead of Arabic, and identifying as Americans in spirit if not citizenship.

Martin Manna, the President of Chaldean Community Foundation, emphasized these concerns after releasing the following statement, saying: “It is very worrisome that ICE has signaled its intention to remove Chaldean Christians to Iraq where their safety not only cannot be guaranteed, but where they face persecution and death for their religious beliefs.”

U.S. immigration authorities have also made arrests in Nashville, Tennessee, arresting a large number of Kurdish Iraqis. The Iraqi Government has agreed to work with U.S. immigration authorities to organize and coordinate a safe and effective deportation mission.

Source: New York Post
Photo: New York Post Screenshot

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