This story was published in Christianity Today and can be found here.
With the fate of 199 Iraqi nationals on hold while a Detroit court hears a lawsuit, a group of evangelical leaders has sent the Trump administration a simple message: Don’t deport Christians into genocide.
“We write urgently and with grave concern that Christians will be removed from the United States to face potential persecution, and even death, in the Middle East,” begins an open letter addressed to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and signed by the seven leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT).
The letter calls on the Trump administration to “exercise the discretion available under the law to defer the deportation of Chaldeans who pose no threat to US public safety to Iraq.” It also asks for the same considerations for Iraqis of other faiths.
The signatories include Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Shirley V. Hoogstra, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities; Jo Anne Lyon, ambassador and general superintendent emerita of The Wesleyan Church; and Hyepin Im, president and CEO of Korean Churches for Community Development.
The letter comes a week after scores of Iraqi Christians living around Detroit were plucked from their homes and cars—some on their way to church—and shackled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. A similar story unfolded at the same time among Iraqi Kurds around Nashville. Within a few days, more than 100 Iraqi nationals were detained, most of them bussed across state lines to a holding facility in Youngstown, Ohio.
Their next journey threatens to take them much farther from home.
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