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

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

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

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold that comes from the devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance.

St. Seraphim of Sarov