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.


Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

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 soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa