By Miriam Raftery
East County News Service
Photos of rally by Peter Mansour
June 24, 2015 (San Diego) – Clergy members and Iraqi community leaders held a prayer vigil on June 18th, calling for release Iraqi Chaldean Christians held in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center.
Since the rise of ISIS, many Iraqi Chaldean Christian have fled to neighboring countries. Some have been fortunate enough to make it across the Mexico-US border. But many of these Christians have now been imprisoned in the detention center for up to four months without any indication of imminent release, despite testimony from Christian family members in San Diego that can vouch for their identity.
"For Iraqi Christians to flee ISIS only to be imprisoned once in America is shameful,” says Mark Arabo, a leader in the Chaldean-American community and an organizer of the vigil. “Since when did the symbol for our nation become a wall and stop being our Statue of Liberty? Our community and individuals from all denominations are joining hands in a procession of faith."
He concluded, "We fully expect that our prayers, our words, and our action lead to the swift and immediate release of these imprisoned Christians. ”
Photo of detention facility from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement