Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press (Photo: Elaine Cromie , Detroit Free Press)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, introduced a resolution Friday that calls on President Donald Trump to use his executive authority to block potential deportations of Iraqi Chaldeans.
Along with Moolenaar, 10 other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation co-sponsored the resolution, which would not have the force of law if passed but would express the U.S. House’s opposition to the detention and possible removal of Iraqi Chaldean Christians.
“Chaldeans in Michigan have escaped religious persecution in Iraq and established themselves in our state, where they have raised families, started businesses and made significant cultural contributions,” Moolenaar said.
“If members of the Chaldean community are deported to Iraq, they will face violent persecution for their religious beliefs.”
Last summer, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit stayed deportations of more than 1,400 Iraqis, including Chaldeans, who had been rounded up by federal authorities in a sweep last year.
Early this year, Goldsmith also issued an order saying the immigrants deserved bond hearings and should not be held indefinitely while their cases continued.
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The Trump administration has maintained that those detained had previously committed crimes in the U.S. and must be deported. But advocates for those being detained say they have already served their sentences or otherwise paid their debts to society and that many are Christians who could be tortured if returned to Iraq.
Along with Moolenaar, the other sponsors of the resolution are U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet; Mike Bishop, R-Rochester; Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn; Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield; Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak; Dave Trott, R-Birmingham; Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph; and Tim Walberg, R-Tipton.