CWN - A federal court has blocked the plan of US immigration authorities to deport nearly 200 Iraqi natives, most of them Chaldean Christians, who were seized in raids in the Detroit area.

Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a 14-day stay on deportation proceedings, while he weighs a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU argues that the immigrants could face persecution if they are returned to Iraq. “US law prohibits the removal of individuals to countries where they would face a likelihood of persecution or torture,” the ACLU lawsuit stated. “Many of the Petitioners are Chaldean Christians, who are widely recognized as targets of brutal persecution in Iraq.”

Judge Goldsmith said that he would use the 14-stay to weigh the arguments in the case and decide whether a federal court—rather than an immigration court—has proper jurisdiction in the case. The judge said that the potential danger to the the immigrants if they are returned to Iraq “far outweighs any conceivable interest the government might have in the immediate enforcement of the removal orders.”

Most of the Iraqi immigrants who were rounded up in the Detroit area have lived in the US for decades, albeit without legal authorization. All have arrest records, although their supporters argue that few can be regarded as threats to public safety.

From Iraq, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako wrote to express his sympathy with the Christians who are facing possible deportation, and his hope for a solution that would preserve them from danger. He remarked that the situation points to the need for migrants to ensure that they have attained legal status.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica