Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mass arrests send waves of terror among community members who escaped to the US hoping to lead peaceful lives
Iraqi Christians are terrified by a series of mass arrests that have been made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and face a possible deportation back to Iraq.

Some of these Chaldean Christians have been living in the U.S. for over 30 years, while others are recent migrants who escaped war-stricken Iraq. For these Chaldeans, already displaced from their home because of heavy persecution, getting deported back to Iraq is as good as being sentenced to death.

The roundup of the Chaldean Christians is being described as Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants in action. The community is now living in fear of being sent away straight into the mouth of death. The crackdown on the Chaldeans has also caused grave fears among other groups of immigrants, who came to the U.S. hoping to receive sanctuary from the violence they faced back home and to live peaceful lives.

The Chaldeans have been Christians since the early days of Christianity and modern-day Iraq has always been their traditional home. Although they are affiliated to the Holy See of Vatican, their leader is the Patriarch of Babylon. The Chaldeans have been migrating to the U.S. from as early as the 1920s. The community faced bitter persecution under Saddam Hussein, and recently under ISIS. Most of the community has already fled Iraq. Today, Detroit has the largest group of Chaldeans outside Iraq, with a population of more than 120,000.

Having already considered themselves to be Americans, and even having voted for Trump, it has come as a bitter shock for the community to see 40 of their people getting whisked away by the ICE. The ICE itself claims that the people arrested were responsible for a variety of crimes. Although it is true some of the Chaldeans arrested have had criminal records in the past, most of the charges were either very minor or had occurred years ago. As such, the community says arresting them today was completely baseless and inhuman.

The community heavily lashed out at Trump, who promised to protect Christians before the elections, but unleashed a time of terror upon the Chaldeans. Organizations such as The Minority Humanitarian Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project have come forth to support the community and to fight against the arrests.

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