Levin, Moolenaar Request Aid from Pompeo to Prevent Deportations of Iraqi Nationals
In a letter sent today to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) and Congressman John Moolenaar (MI-04) requested assistance to prevent the detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals living the United States, including numerous Chaldean Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities.
“The deportations have started, and people are being sent to face extreme danger,” Congressman Levin said. “While we work to advance our bill in the House that would grant relief to the Iraqi nationals facing deportation, we need support from the Executive Branch. Secretary Pompeo has personally acknowledged the threats faced by religious minorities in Iraq, which is why he would be a key partner in the effort to protect these Iraqi nationals from persecution.
“There’s no doubt Iraqi Christians in the United States will face persecution and possible death if they are sent back to Iraq,” Congressman Moolenaar said. “Just last month, the State Department ordered many of its employees out of Iraq because of the instability in that country. We believe it is paramount to support religious freedom and the right of people to practice their faith without fear of persecution.”
Congressman Levin has received multiple reports of deportations from his district, including one case of a man with mental illness who has no family in Iraq who was sent there with no money or clothes. Details released last week show that as many as 20 more deportations may be imminent.
Last month, Congressmen Levin and Moolenaar introduced the Deferred Removal for Iraqi Nationals Including Minorities Act, a bipartisan bill that would provide two years of relief from deportation for Iraqi nationals with orders of deportation. This would allow each Iraqi national to have their case heard individually in immigration court.
In April, Congressmen Levin and Moolenaar led a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed by more than 20 bipartisan lawmakers from around the country requesting deferral of detention and deportation of affected Iraqi nationals.
Following the announcement that the heads of both DHS and ICE were departing, the congressmen, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting intervention based on his history of advocating for persecuted Christians abroad.
According to U.S. Census data, Michigan’s 9th District, represented by Congressman Levin, has the largest Iraqi-born community of any congressional district in the country.
Congressman Levin also penned an op-ed in The Detroit News making the case for deferral and detailing the dangers faced by Iraqis should they be deported.
Read the text of the letter HERE.