Fighting To Bring My Dad Home

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][movedo_single_image image=”17142″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][movedo_single_image image=”17141″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][movedo_single_image image=”17140″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]”Growing up, my dad, Sam always taught us to trust in God’s plan, especially in times when we don’t understand what God has planned for us. My parents taught my siblings and I to place all of our trust in God and know that He will get us through dark times. That lesson was tested when ICE agents pounded on our door at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning as we were getting ready to go to Mass. The agents said that they were doing a house check. They then said that they just needed my dad to come in and be interviewed by the Iraqi consulate. They promised that he would be back the next day. The agents even told my mom to expect a phone call the next day when she could come pick him up. My dad and I looked at each other, and we knew they were lying to us. Thankfully, he got to hug and kiss each of us goodbye, and I gave him a rosary I had near me. The rosary seemed to be the only weapon of defense I could offer my dad as he left our home.

I later found out that on that same morning, Sunday, June 11, immigration officials detained at least 100 other Chaldeans (Iraqi Christians) in the Detroit area with the intention of deporting them to Iraq. Many people were going about their normal Sunday morning routine: getting breakfast, sleeping in, or getting ready to go to Sunday Mass…just as my father was.

My dad came to the United States legally when he was only 4 years old. He made a mistake over 30 years ago when, following a road rage incident, he was found to be in possession of a gun for which he was not registered. Although the gun was not loaded, he paid his debt to society by going to prison, and he has had no further arrests or convictions since. He repented for his wrongdoing, married my mother, Nahrain, and had four kids. He took full advantage of his fresh start, and built our family with Christ as the foundation. Due to my dad’s hard work as a business owner, our family was, until now, living the American Dream. My dad does not know the language in Iraq, and he has a tattoo of a cross on his wrist; sending him back to Iraq is essentially a death sentence.

Growing up, my dad instilled in us to always go out of our way to help people. Even my friends know that my dad always loves to make people happy. I remember when one of my friends mentioned that we loved Brownie Brittle. When I came home from college to visit, I noticed that my dad bought us an entire case of Brownie Brittle! My friend and I were in brownie heaven! We can’t mention that we like something in front of my dad because he is so generous that he would buy us a whole case of it! My dad is the type of person who would give someone the shirt off his back…a trait that my siblings and I try to emulate.

Before my dad left that Sunday, he asked me to take care of my mom and my three younger siblings: Christopher, Lauren, and Lindsey. I am a junior at the University of Michigan, and I am currently taking my final exams. Trying to balance studying while also being the backbone of our household has been tough; however, we are blessed to be a part of an amazing community filled with family and friends who have been nothing but supportive in these dark times. We are reminded of Saint Paul’s teachings of being part of one body of Christ. We pray fervently for my dad to come home, but we also know that we are one family among hundreds who are hurting in this way. We are all hurting, and our community hurts with us.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of my father and all the other Chaldeans who were detained in early June. The lawsuit argues that people cannot be sent to a country where they could be the target of genocide. So far, the judge has placed a two-week restraining order that keeps the detainees here while the judge is further reviewing the case. Please pray for the lawyers and politicians as well as the judge who will be hearing our case. We know that the power of prayer is immeasurable and we rely on them.

During these dark times, my family has leaned on the Lord. I know God brings us out of darkness, and we pray my dad will come home. My dad has always told us to trust in God and everything will be okay. Even now, my dad’s faith has not faltered. When he calls he reminds us that everything will be ok and not to lose faith and trust in God. He reminds us to appreciate everything we have, especially the little things. He continues to tell us to be strong and how much he loves us. Our family members, friends, and especially our church community have been the greatest support we could ask for. My family and I cannot go anywhere without someone coming up to us and letting us know that our dad is in their prayers. The one thing that has been getting me and my family through this all has been the power of prayer. I know that the rosary my dad has with him right now is the reason he is still in Michigan. I know that going to the grotto at our church at least once a day with my siblings has brought comfort and peace to the situation we are going through. I know God is with our family, and all the other families right now, keeping us strong. I know He has not abandoned us. I know He has a plan, and although this has been a painful experience, we trust in God’s will.”

Written by his loving daughter, Britanny Hamama[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Official Statement

 

 

USCCB URGE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO DEFER DEPORTATION OF REFUGEES WHO HAVE ESCAPED RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION

 

 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have come out with an official statement that they issued yesterday.
USCCB President And Bishop Chairmen Urge Department Of Homeland Security To Defer Deportation Of Refugees Who Have Escaped Religious Persecution

June 20, 2017
WASHINGTON—The President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston as well as the Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, urging him to defer deportation of those persons to Iraq, particularly Christians and Chaldean Catholics, who pose no threat to U.S. public safety.
The letter has been sent to specifically address the pending deportation of dozens of Christian and Chaldean Catholics in Michigan and Tennessee.
While the bishops recognize that some of the individuals may have orders of deportation because they have committed criminal offenses in the past, they are gravely concerned that they would then be sent back to a country where religious persecution and persecution against ethnic minorities remains an ongoing threat. The letter states that “the fact that they have a significant risk in experiencing persecution, and even possible bodily harm because of their faith is, from our moral perspective, an important factor to be weighted in the calculation to deport.”
Source: http://usccb.org/news/2017/17-109.cfm

The full letter is attached.

MI Pardon (Arabic and English)

MI Pardon – arabic PDF

To the families of those detained or at-risk of deportation:

We have appealed to Governor Snyder to consider pardons for those with State Felonies. It is our understanding that most of those detained have Federal offenses. If a member of your family has been detained (or has a final order of removal) and has a State felony, your attorney should complete a pardon application and deliver it to the Chaldean Community Foundation located at 3601, 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights no later than noon, Monday June 26. On-staff and volunteer community attorneys will be present at the Foundation this Friday, June 23rd from 10am -4 pm and Saturday, June 24 from 10am – 4pm to provide assistance to those needing help with the application.

Letter From the Patriarch: Update onChaldean Deportation

ورقة رسمية 3 (1)

No: 180

Date 22.6 .2017

 

سيادة المطران فرنسيس قلابات، مطران أبرشية مار توما الرسول في ديترويت/ ميشكان، الجزيل الاحترام

سيدنا الحبيب،

بحزن وقلق نتابع عن كثب قرار الحكومة الأمريكية بترحيل   مسيحيين كلدان وأخرين من اصل عراقي،  إننا إذ  نعبر عن تضامننا  مع العائلات المشمولة بترحيل احد أفرادها  من خلال صلاتنا ورجائنا  إلى الإدارة الأمريكية بإيجاد حل مناسب لهذه الأزمة الإنسانية والعائلية وخصوصا  أن  من بينهم أشخاصا لهم أولاد متجنسون وأعمال ومصالح،  ومنهم من مضى عليهم سنون في أمريكا و لا يشكلون خطرا على سلامتها.  أما من ناحية الحكومة العراقية، فقد أعلمتنا بأن امر الترحيل قرار أمريكي سيادي لا يمكن التدخل فيه.

وبهذه المناسبة المؤلمة ندعو المهاجرين إلى أن يتعلموا درساً بليغاً من هذه المحنة فيسرعوا للحصول على أوراق رسمية تطبع وضعهم قانونيا.

سلام الرب ونعمه معكم وتحفظكم

Patriarch Louis Sako has been working to stop the deportation of all the Chaldeans who were incarcerated recently.  Before sending this letter of support, he spoke with all the Iraqi officials about this situation and shares his heartfelt pain with the families who have been disrupted because of these raids.

The Patriarch also spoke with an international Catholic organization that are in contact with Vice President Pence directly.  The Patriarch’s statements were made known directly to the Vice President.

+ لويس روفائيل ساكو

بطريرك الكلـــــدان  

St. Anthony

“Mom! I can’t find my keys!”
“Pray to Saint Anthony!”

​Many times, when we lose something, we are told to pray to Saint Anthony in order to recover the lost item. That is because Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lost articles. Anthony of Padua is one of the Catholic Church’s most popular saints! He was a powerful Franciscan preacher and teacher. A popular image of Saint Anthony is of him holding the child Jesus. Sometimes he is holding a lily or a book. Some images show him holding all three.
​Saint Anthony’s life was devoted to teaching in his Franciscan Order. He enjoyed teaching and is known to be one of the most passionate teachers in the Franciscan Church. He is known to have loved reading, and is also a theologian with a specialty on scripture. He was born into a rich family, but his life was ruled by the gospel call to leave everything and follow Christ. When he first entered the Franciscan Order, he was set out to preach to the Moors, but an illness prevented him from achieving that goal; therefore, he went to Italy where he spent most of his time praying. He was a monk who took great care in doing menial tasks, saying that all things mattered when serving God.
One of the reasons to why we invoke Saint Anthony’s help in finding lost or stolen items is traced back to his own life. Legend has it that Anthony had a book of psalms that he held very near and dear to his heart. This book was handwritten and had important notes he made when teaching his students in his Franciscan Order. This book was stolen, and Anthony prayed fervently for its return. After a few days, the book was returned to Anthony and is said to be preserved in the Franciscan friary in Bologna. Shortly after his death, people began to pray through Saint Anthony to find or recover lost or stolen articles. Many people claim that they recover the lost item, immediately claiming Saint Anthony always listens and sends our prayers to God.
​Saint Anthony is referred to as a Doctor of the Church based on his knowledge of Scripture. He was canonized less than a year after his death because of the many miracles attributed to him. Saint Anthony died on June 13, 1231, hence being the feast day of the beloved saint. Saint Anthony, often called the miracle worker, has 56 miracles recorded for his canonization. Tuesday has become known as Saint Anthony’s day because that was the day of his funeral procession in Padua. Tuesday is also a day where many Catholics and Chaldeans fast from meat to honor Saint Anthony.

Deportation Update From Bishop Francis

We were able to get several congressional members to support the cause and that the issue has reached the desk of the Vice President. Also, the Ashcroft law firm that were hired for this cause is meeting at the White House tomorrow. We are also gathering more congressional leaders to sign a petition that is being sent to John F. Kelly, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, to help stop the raids

Bishop Francis Kalabat’s Official Statement on Deportation of Chaldeans

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“To all the faithful of the Chaldean Community,

Please disregard all the different statements that claim to say what I said, this is my first official communication to the Chaldean Community.

Yesterday was a very strange and painful day for our community in America. With the many Chaldeans that were awakened by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and consequently picked up for deportation, there is a lot of confusion and anger.

What the Church has been doing is working with the many agencies to try to stop this bleeding. We are currently contacting and working with the following:

State Department
Senators and Congressmen(women)
The Iraqi Embassy
Other agencies where an injunction may be filed to keep anyone from being deported 
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Talking points that we are bringing up:
The Church does not oppose justice, all hardened criminals that are a danger to society should be picked up.
Many who were picked up are not hardened criminals but for the last decades have been great citizens
The Genocide bill that was just passed by Congress last week to protect Christians goes against this very thing.

This will take a lot of effort but acting in disrespectful ways in front of the federal building only bring harm and not good. We understand the pain that many members of our community are going through but motional outbursts will not bring change.

Please get the official statements from this source and no other.

Thanks and let’s pray for God’s blessings to rain down on us,

Bishop Francis Kalabat

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Bishop Addresses Deportation Rumors

“It has been rumored that our Church signed documents regarding the deportation issue. To my (Bishop Francis Kalabat) capacity, as a permanent member of the church synod, I would like to formally state that this is NOT true, and that was no signed document or any type of agreement made with the Iraqi government or anyone else, that would allow the deportation of Chaldeans to Iraq.  There was no such thing discussed, signed, or issued. 

For further updates on this situation as they become available, please follow my official Facebook page, as well as the St.Thomas_Chaldean_Diocese_USA  Instagram. “

Thank you, and God Bless,

Bishop Francis Kalabat