STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Michigan lawmakers are standing beside Iraqi families, calling on federal authorities to prioritize the safety of Iraqi nationals who face deportation following a court ruling.
Deportations could start as early as Tuesday. Families and lawmakers came together Saturday to demand the government reconsider the process that will rip families apart.
Stephen Shakurra is one of thousands of detainees who have lived in limbo since 2017, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested and removed people from their communities and forced them to return to Iraq.
If deported, Shakurra would be seperated from his son.
"I've resided here 39 of my 41 years of living," Shakurra said. "I left Iraq when I was 2 years old. I have no knowledge of Iraq whatsoever."
The crowds gathered in Sterling Heights in an effort to save Shakurra and others like him from deportation to a country where leaders would persecite them due to their Christian beliefs.
Michigan leaders are working to make sure each case is treated individually, rather than bundling together.
"This is about fairness and it is about humanity," Rep. Andy Levin said. "It would be unconscionable for ICE to move forward with mass detention and deportation of Iraqis -- many of whom are Chaldean Christians who would face religious persecution in Iraq."