The Guardian reports on June 22 that a federal judge in Detroit, Mark Goldsmith, has put a 14-day temporary hold on attempts by ICE to deport over 100 Iraqi Christians, many of whom have minor criminal convictions for which they finished serving their sentences long ago, to Iraq, where they face danger of severe persecution or even death at the hands of ISIS.

The Detroit area Iraqis are now being incarcerated far away from their homes and their attorneys at an ICE detention center in Youngstown, Ohio, in an evident betrayal of Trump's campaign promises to protect Christians and other Middle Eastern religious minorities from persecution.

See also: POLITICO, June 13:

Also, see my June 14 comment on Trump's raids against Iraqi Christians.

What could have possibly caused Trump to turn against a group of people who are arguably the most vulnerable of any in America to the same religiously inspired terrorist persecution and murder that Trump is now using as an excuse to justify his Muslim entry ban orders?

As the ACLU's complaint in the above lawsuit, Hamama v. Adduccci (E.D.Michigan) states:

"5. U.S. law prohibits the removal of individuals to countries where they would face a likelihood of persecution or torture. Yet despite the clear danger that many of these individuals face in Iraq, ICE is attempting to deport them based on outstanding removal orders that do not take into account of intervening changed circumstances which should entitle them to protection."

One answer would be that Trump's promises to protect Christianity and Middle Eastern Christians in particular were never meant seriously. See a February 11 article by Lebanese American University teacher Halim Shebaya entitled:

Is Trump a saviour for Middle Eastern Christians?

Or is he a false prophet?

The immediate reason, as also reported in the media, was Iraq's decision to reverse its previous policy of refusing to accept deportees from the US, as part of an apparent deal to be taken off the original list of seven Muslim countries whose citizens were banned from entering the United States.

But there is a strong argument to be made that the deeper reason is Trump's own glorification of his mass deportation policies and evident desire to create a legacy as the president who expelled more Middle Eastern, Latino, Asian and black immigrants from America than any other U.S. president in history.

As the great Iraqi poet, Al-Mutanabbi, wrote over 1,000 years ago:

Wa taazumu fi 'ayn assaghir assagharuha,

Wa tasgharu fi 'ayn al azim al-azaimu.

"Small people think that their small actions are great,

And great people think that their great actions are small."

(I apologize for any imperfections in transliteration or translation - I am not a classical Arabic scholar.)

Few people (other than, no doubt, top Trump administration officials such as Stephen Bannon and Jeff Sessions, who have both advocated a return to the Europeans-only policies of the infamous Johnson-Reed "national origins" immigration act of 1924) would argue that the president's attempt to expel up to 11 million unauthorized immigrants from America, no matter what the cost might be in human suffering, puts him among the second group of people whom this famous medieval Iraqi poet described above.

The only comfort one can take is that the "Donald Trump Era" of persecution against minority immigrants in America will not last forever; and one day this country will return to its ideals and values as a nation that welcomes immigrants without regard to ethnicity, color, or religion; as embodied in the Statue of Liberty, and in the 1965 immigration reform law which is now under such great attack from the president's above inner circle of immigration advisers, and from Trump's supporters in the white nationalist movement.

As Hafez, a world-famous poet from what is now a Middle Eastern country which Trump still has on his banned list, Iran, wrote in Persian in the 14th century:

Yusofe gomgashte baz ayad be kanon: qam machor.

Kolbeye ahsan shavad roozi golestan: qam machor.

"Joseph, who was lost, will return to Canaan: do not grieve.

The house of sorrows will turn into a garden: do not grieve."

Could there possibly be a better description of immigration policy in Donald Trump's America?

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law