DETROIT (WWJ) – “For the first time in my life I can truly say ‘Detroit verses everybody,'” began the rally cry outside the federal courthouse in Detroit.
Family and friends of some of the 114 Iraqi nationals held for deportation gathered in vocal protest on Wednesday.
Before the hearing a number of people, including Sandy Shamoon, rallied to bring attention to and plead to stop the deportation of approximately 114 Iraqi nationals who have been living in the Detroit area — some for several decades.
“He didn’t enter the country illegally or nothing,” said Shamoon of her brother-in-law. “He came here legal.”
Shamoon feels confident that those deported, including her family member, will face certain death.
“Once they land they’ll definitely be slaughtered … you have to think about it — Iraq has been destroyed by ISIS and by people just blowing up other people. The people there don’t know nothing about murder, bombs and killing … so once he leaves from here they are going to look at him like ‘you were in America enjoying beautiful freedom – we will definitely slaughter you for the kid you guys killed and everything.”
She said her brother-in-law had a marijuana charge against him 20 years ago and served his time.
“I understand that some people have broke the law and I understand the law of the land and I understand — under the constitution and you know, there shouldn’t be discrimination. Under the constitution any that does break the law – I feel like they should go to jail and do their time but absolutely give them another chance at life because we are not a threat,” said another woman at the rally.
“We are just asking for a second chance because these people already did their time — so I don’t think they should be deported because if they get deported they are just going back to killed.”
Attorney Neil Rockind was at the rally to show his support for those held for deportation.
“This has to stop — we simply can not do this,” said Rockind. “We can not declare ISIS to be our enemy … and then send people back for crimes, arguably, 10-15-20-30 years ago — we just can’t do it, we shouldn’t do it, and it’s unspeakable and unthinkable that we are even considering this – let alone locking up people. It’s an outrage.”
Many people attending the rally are refugees from the Gulf War in 1989 and in the words of one woman; “The American government adopted us as refugees and we came into this country — we’ve lived here all of our lives — we are Americans and we are considered to the people in Iraq, Americans.”
Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith heard arguments from both sides for about an hour and is expected to render a decision soon.