Levin, Moolenaar, Slotkin and Fortenberry Forward Bipartisan Letter on Iraqi Deportations to Vice President Pence

April 10, 2019
Press Release
The lawmakers passed the letter on to the Vice President, who has advocated for the protection of Christians abroad, following news of the departures of DHS and ICE leadership.

U.S. House Representative Andy Levin (D-MI-09), John Moolenaar (R-MI-04),  Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01) today expanded their executive branch outreach in advocacy for Iraqi nationals facing deportation to Vice President Mike Pence.

The lawmakers forwarded a letter sent last week to the then-Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary and Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed by 23 bipartisan lawmakers from around the country with an additional page requesting his express advocacy for Iraqi nationals, many of whom are Chaldean Christian and would face persecution in Iraq.

The cover page of today’s letter also notes that the matter deserves urgent attention following news of the departure of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Director of ICE Ronald Vitello.

“In the past, Vice President Pence has advocated for the protection of persecuted Christians abroad, so it would make sense to pursue his partnership on this issue,” Rep. Levin said. “Iraqi nationals of all religious backgrounds facing deportation could receive a knock on the door as soon as today and be deported to Iraq before an immigration court has the chance to individually hear cases. We are growing this bipartisan coalition swiftly, and we are involving all players who have an interest in securing fair and humane treatment for Iraqi nationals.”

Read the text of the cover page HERE and the letter HERE.

Last week, Reps. Levin and Moolenaar led a bipartisan letter signed by 23 lawmakers from all over the country urging DHS and ICE to halt the wholesale detention and deportation of Iraqi nationals, and requesting that they allow each case to be heard individually in immigration court.

Signers of last week’s letter include Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI-09), John Moolenaar (R-MI-04), Justin Amash (R-MI-03), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Jim Cooper (D-TN-05), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01), Josh Harder (D-CA-10), Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02), Dan Kildee (D-MI-05), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI-14), Doris Matsui (D-CA-06), Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), Paul Mitchell (R-MI-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13).

According to U.S. Census data, Rep. Levin’s congressional district has the largest Iraqi-born community of any district in the country.

Last weekend, Rep. Levin convened a press conference with Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Brenda Lawrence, in addition to Iraqi families facing deportation and immigration attorneys. On Tuesday, Rep. Levin reiterated his call for DHS and ICE to halt deportations, especially as he works with fellow lawmakers to develop a legislative solution that would provide relief for Iraqi nationals facing deportation.