June has been quite the month for Iraqi Christians in America. From CT’s report:
"More than 100 Iraqi Christians arrested in immigration raids earlier this month will get to stay in the United States—at least for another two weeks, according to an order issued yesterday by a federal judge in Detroit."
Of the more than 1,000 Iraqis who live in America, 300 of them were Christians slated to be deported later this summer, a move which provoked significant outcry from the community.
“This is about the conditions we are sending people back to. We are imposing a death penalty through the back door,” said the lawyer of one of those affected.
This news came just weeks after Vice President Mike Pence attended an event highlighting the plight of persecuted Christians. Pence also hosted the top leaders from churches in Iraq and Syria.
“Mike Pence been really outspoken in support of our community. We couldn’t really ask anything better from the vice president,” said Martin Manna, the president of the Chaldean Chamber and Foundation in Detroit, Michigan.
Finding a political home has been challenging for the Iraqi Christian American diaspora, said Manna. The community was frustrated at George W. Bush for invading Iraq but also blamed Barack Obama for not responding urgently enough to ISIS, which has terrorized Christians in their homeland. While President Trump promised to protect them, his administration has moved to deport Iraqi Christians in America.
“It’s a very conservative community. It’s always faith first and family,” said Manna. “… Republicans—while they appreciate our Christian beliefs and they fight for us when we talk about the persecution of Christians—when you talk about immigration they seem to shut down. On the other side, when you talk to Democrats, they want to rally around social justice and immigration reform but when we talk about the persecution of Christians, it goes to a deaf ear.”
Manna recently joined assistant editor Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss why Iraqi Christians originally immigrated to America, why longtime members of the community are at risk of deportation, and what their relationship with Arab Muslims looks like in their new country.
Listeners may also want to check out Quick to Listen, Episode 27, which discussed why so few Syrian refugees have been Christians.