September 12, 2017

Why do so many Iraqi-Americans support President Trump?

Iraqi Christians are waiting for President Trump to deliver on a campaign pledge to help their families in their homeland. “I really hope he does not let us down,” said Nahren Anweya, an Assyrian-Christian activist in Macomb County, Mich.

Anweya believes the Obama administration didn’t do enough to help persecuted Christians living in the Middle East, which prompted her to become an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, who pledged to take up the Iraqi Christian cause.

Many Iraqi Christians voted for Trump with the expectation that he would champion the creation of a safe haven for their loved ones in Iraq. Trump “won the hearts of the Middle Eastern community [in the United States because] they looked at him as their defender, as someone who will carry out what President Obama didn’t do.”

The Trump campaign repeatedly called for the creation of safe zones for persecuted people across the Middle East. Many Assyrian-Chaldeans, who are the native people of Iraq, and other Christians have been calling for a safe haven for Christians in the Nineveh Plain, the establishment of which they see as their only chance of survival there. Eighteen months ago, Congress and the State Department declared that genocide is taking place against Christians and other religious minorities in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have resettled in the U.S. in recent decades, first to flee the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, then to avoid the genocidal intentions of the Islamic State and other jihadist Islamic groups. They make up a crucial share of the vote in Macomb County, Mich., a county that proved pivotal to Trump in the 2016 election.

“We are still waiting,” Anweya told Daniel and Jordan Allott recently about Trump’s pledges to help Iraqi Christians. “We hope that we are not let down. It’s a life and death situation for us. We still have hope for him and we are praying every day that he will follow through.”

This video was originally featured as a part of the Washington Examiner’s series The Race To 2020: The people and places that will define a presidency. You can watch more videos here.

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