Nearly two dozen Iraqi Christians who fled ISIS and crossed into the U.S. from Mexico seeking religious asylum have been denied protection and could be booted from American soil within days, a federal official said.
Some 27 Iraqi Christians, known as Chaldeans, were held at the Otay Detention Center in San Diego since entering the U.S. in April and May. Seven have already been extradited, and five more criminally charged with making false statements. In all, 22 have been ordered out of the U.S. and five still have asylum applications pending, according to Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego.My reaction to this news is conflicted. On one hand, it is easy to "root for the underdog", as the saying goes. These Christians are part of a sect that has faced brutal treatment from fundamentalist Islamic groups such as ISIS, and thus would appear to deserve asylum. On the other hand, they did not come directly to the United States, but traveled to Mexico and then crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Unless they stopped at an official border crossing and presented valid passports, their crossing was done in an illegal manner. Those who allegedly made false statements didn't exactly help their cause, either. (According to the Fox News story, some of them had German passports.)