A Christian leader believes a federal judge was morally correct in halting the deportations of hundreds of Iraqi Christians back to Iraq where they could face death sentences at the hands of ISIS.
Even though Congress has given the Executive Branch full authority when it comes to deportation decisions, District Judge Mark Goldsmith overruled Congress arguing that he had to step in and save the Iraqis from immediate deportation because otherwise they risked "death, torture, or other grave persecution back home."
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, was among a group of pro-family leaders who visited the White House earlier this week. He tells OneNewsNow that while there he raised the question of the Iraqi Christians.
"I said ... this automatic deportation of hundreds of Chaldean Iraqi Christian refugees is something that just must be stopped," Land shares. "[If] these people ... return to Iraq, almost certainly they'll be killed – just because they're Christians. So this is a miscarriage of justice, and I strongly encouraged the president to intervene."
Now that Judge Goldsmith has intervened, Land admits that he finds himself in an awkward position.
"I disagree with the judicial philosophy behind the judge who made this decision, but I like the result," he states. "I suspect that technically the judge is wrong, but morally he's right. But ultimately the Supreme Court will have to decide that question."
ISIS legacy in Iraq: Christians were driven out
Meanwhile, a spokesman for a persecution watchdog group cautions that despite Iraq's declaration of victory over ISIS in the city of Mosul, Christians there still face an uncertain future.
The Iraqi prime minister earlier this week announced that the country's second-largest city had been liberated from ISIS more than three years after the city was captured by the jihadist militant group. But in that time span, ISIS eliminated all 45 church buildings in Mosul and more than 100,000 Christians were driven from their homes in an and around the city.
William Stark, regional manager with International Christian Concern, says the city's liberation from ISIS is significant but wonders how the city will rebuild.
"Frankly speaking, the harder question coming up now is how do we take care of this community that's looking to return to these areas that have been destroyed?" he offers.
Stark tells OneNewsNow that many Iraqi Christians don't feel safe and believe they can live in Christian-only areas.
"It's going to be hard to find those Christian-only areas," he continues. "So a lot of people in the long-term are likely going to look to immigrate somewhere else, which means ISIS's legacy may be Christians being driven out."
He also warns that the battle with ISIS isn't over. ISIS, he says, still exists in Iraq and is fighting government forces in some areas. "We need to kind of finish the job," he urges. "We can't just pat ourselves on the back and walk away right now."