Federal immigration enforcement officials said 114 Iraqi nationals in metro-Detroit were detained Sunday during a sweep of residents subject to deportation, while groups continued to vow to fight the removals.
The 114 detainees were among 199 Iraqi nationals arrested nationwide following an agreement by the U.S. and Iraq earlier this year for Iraq to accept a number of national slated for removal, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say in a news release.
Of the 199, the overwhelming majority of whom had criminal convictions for crimes including homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, robbery, sex assault, weapons violations and other offenses, ICE says.
ICE says only two individuals didnt have convictions but are currently charged with serious offenses while one detainee has no criminal conviction but has a final order of removal.
The sweep drew criticism from local Chaldean groups claiming that the detainees have served their punishment and many of the offenses were minor and/or occurred decades ago. In addition, they argue, if the detainees are sent to Iraq they likely face persecution and possible death from the Islamic State or other jihadists due to their Christian faith. Vice President Pence and former President Obama have called the attack on Christians in Iraq genocide.
But ICE officials say the detainees are a threat here.
The operation in this region was specifically conducted to address the very real public safety threat represented by the criminal aliens arrested, said Rebecca Adducci, field…
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