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April 5, 2019

Emgage Urges the Administration to not Deport Iraqi Immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

04/04/2019

Emgage Urges the Administration to not Deport Iraqi Immigrants

Detroit, MI — Emgage urges the Department of Homeland Security to halt the detention and deportation of an estimated 1,000 Iraqi nationals, including numerous Chaldean Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities, which would expose them to immediate danger.  On April 2, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Hamama v. Adducci affirmed that Iraqis with standing removal orders were no longer protected from deportation if an immigration court hasn’t heard their case.

Today, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-5) along with 19 bipartisan House members submitted a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen urging the Administration to defer deporting members of this group, consider their cases for humanitarian waivers, and allow each of them sufficient time and opportunity to seek reopening of their immigration proceedings, so that current law can be applied to current facts.

Since 2017, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents terrorized the Iraqi diaspora in Detroit. Through targeted raids, ICE has been indefinitely detaining Iraqi immigrants in an effort to deport those with criminal records, including non-violent cases. The Iraqi government previously refused to repatriate nationals who fled the country as children or as refugees.  The policy was reversed following President Trump’s removal of Iraq from the list of countries in the Muslim Ban.

By lifting the stay of removal, detained nationals now face their biggest fear of returning to a country they do not know; many do not speak the language or are familiar with the culture. In the highly publicized case of Hamama vs Adducci, Iraqi nationals petitioned the courts because of their fear of returning to Iraq where they may face persecution, torture, or death.

ICE agents detained Iraqis who are part of this class action suit without bond hearings, in contradiction to the Constitution which forbids the detention without an individualized bond hearing to determine if detention is necessary. Those who have been arrested and detained have expressed their fears of the ongoing violence in Iraq and targeting of minorities, especially Christians.  

The American Civil Liberties Union, which had represented members of the class action suit, has argued that sending these Iraqi nationals back would put them in danger of torture or death. Detroit is home to one of the largest Iraqi diasporas in the country and with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision, these Iraqi nationals have about a week to request immigration hearings. Many have already filed, but others that are still in detention have not filed and face deportation as early as April 9.

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For more information, contact Iman Awad at iawad@emgageusa.org.

Visit EmgageUSA.org and EmgageAction.org to learn more about how Muslim Americans are engaging politically to ensure that America continues to remain inclusive and tolerant for everyone.