You can’t always trust moldy food. That’s because, even when you’ve removed all the mold you can see, it still goes deeper. The tendrils of the mold spores can reach quite a bit farther than we can see with our eyes. It’s not the only thing in life that goes beyond the scope of human sight.
It’s been a few months since the Muslim Travel Ban has caused us any significant grief. But it’s back again, like a bread slice that’s somehow moldy after we were sure we threw out the infested half. This week, an ACLU lawsuit was filed against Rebecca Adducci, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Office Director, on behalf of more than 100 Chaldean Christians, many of them refugees from Iraq. The refugees were taken into custody by ICE, but they weren’t picked up at the border or on an inflatable life raft. Many of them had been in Michigan for decades — some of them longer than I’ve been alive (I’ll be 31 this year, just for a frame of reference).
Now, Christians aren’t very well liked in Iraq these days. Christians are tortured and killed there, which is something I believe we can all agree is bad. In fact, our boisterous President is opposed to the idea of Christian executions in the larger Middle East.
“Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue,” he said in a Jan. 29 tweet.
Then came the Muslim Travel Ban. As we recall, it didn’t fly — no pun intended. This week’s problem actually stems from the second incarnation of the ban, because it removed Iraq from the list of banned countries. That doesn’t make sense on the surface until you examine how it was done. Iraq was removed from the list of countries on the travel ban and, in exchange, Iraq agreed to accept deportees, according to CNN. It would seem the only thing preventing our country from sending these Christians home to be tortured and killed years ago was Iraq’s unwillingness to take them back. Since that roadblock was removed in May, ICE has been rounding them up for deportation and few, if any, are being given the chance to plead their case.
The petitioners listed in the ACLU class action suit have all been subject to an order of removal to Iraq, and all of them have been released to the community under an order of supervision, which they have all complied with. A majority of them have criminal records, and those with records have faced the courts and served their sentences. So the government definitely knew about them. The government had, in a sense, given their consent to the refugees by allowing them to stay under order of supervision, rather than removing them.
Now that Iraq will take deportees, it seems the U.S. Government is sending the Chaldean Christians back because we can — or are legally obligated to — not because we should. In my opinion, there ought to be a law against forcing someone to return to a country where they’re sure to be killed. As it turns out, there is. The suit claims the U.S. Code, specifically the Refugee Act and Convention Against Torture, as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act, prohibit the U.S. from “removing a noncitizen to a country where he or she is more likely than not to face persecution or torture.”
It would seem the government’s current stance on immigrants and refugees is at odds with the U.S. Code. I suppose that’s why we have a lawsuit, but it places the government in a bit of a pickle. Allow the Chaldean Christians to stay and the campaign rhetoric means nothing. Deport them and the rule of law means nothing. It’s a hard place to be in when the President has both drawn a hard line on deportation and immigration but said the killing of Christians in the Middle East must stop. The deal-making he was so proud of may have doomed his administration to actually contribute to what he deemed a horror.
The moldy tendril of our President’s zealous pursuit of a Muslim Travel Ban extended farther than both he and the government could see. The disjoint between ICE’s actions and the President’s tweet has been exposed by his art of the deal. The zealous haste in which the travel ban was aggressively pursued actually paved the way for hundreds of Christians to be funneled back into the very same deadly circumstances they escaped decades ago.
Thankfully, a Detroit Judge temporarily stopped the deportations Thursday. So we’ll see how hard of a line our leaders will draw here, what concessions will be made and how plumb our justice system truly is.
The ACLU class action suit can be viewed at: http://www.aclumich.org/sites/default/files/2017-06-15%20Hamama_Petition_FINAL.p...