The pastor of the Arabic Church of Dallas is lobbying to stop the federal government from deporting scores of Iraqi nationals rounded up by U.S. immigration officials in recent weeks.
Nearly 200 Iraqi nationals have been rounded up since May, many of whom have committed serious crimes, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The arrests could possibly lead to deportation back to Iraq. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit to stop the possible deportations.
In a Facebook post, evangelist Franklin Graham called the possible deportations "disturbing" and encouraged President Trump to look into the matter further.
Pastor Jalil Dawood also is among the Christian leaders who are expressing concern over the nationwide arrests. Dawood, an Iraqi refugee-turned U.S. citizen and executive director of World Refugee Care, says those who have been arrested by ICE should be punished in the U.S. and not sent back to Iraq where genocide is taking place against Christians by ISIS.
"These people fled persecution, fled suffering and they came here [or] their parents brought them here – and they've done something wrong," he shares. "I'm not for them to do that and I never wish anybody to go that route, but some people do wrong.
"I do not wish them to go back [to Iraq] because if they do go back ... they will be facing persecution or death, and that does not fit the crime that they have committed or the wrong that they have committed. That will be too harsh."
ICE has stated that all of those arrested had criminal convictions, including for murder, rape and drug trafficking, and were ordered deported by an immigration judge after "full and fair" proceedings.