Maronite - WASHINGTON, DC – In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East, calls on Congress to pass H.R.2537 - Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that calls on the United States Government to take into account victim communities of genocide when enforcing immigration law.
In 2016, the United States Government officially recognized Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities as victims of genocide in Iraq and Syria. Currently, there are over 1,000 Iraqi nationals, the majority of whom are Christians, in Michigan who are slated for deportation back to Iraq. On Tuesday, Jimmy Aldaoud, a Chaldean Catholic from Michigan with mental health issues, a past history of homelessness, and an extended criminal record, died in Baghdad, Iraq. He had been deported to Iraq from the U.S. in June.
“We understand that the United States is a nation of laws and that laws must be enforced,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini. He added that the “Christian community in Iraq has suffered greatly under ISIS and now from Iranian-backed militias. Christians of Iraqi descent who have been living in the U.S. for decades have nowhere to return to in Iraq. While the United States acted within its rights in deporting an unlawful resident, in doing so, they sent an Iraqi Christian back to a country whose own indigenous Christians cannot find a place to live in safety. The Iraqi Government must also improve access to social and health services it offers to its citizens, especially those, such as Mr. Aldaoud, who have a history of mental health issues.”