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Mexico Won't Deport 11 Iraqi Christians

The head of Mexico's Immigration Institute said Wednesday the government won't deport or repatriate 11 Iraqi Christians detained Jan. 20 in the northern city of Monterrey.
( [email protected] ) Feb 01, 2007 05:35 PM EST

MEXICO CITY (AP) - The head of Mexico's Immigration Institute said Wednesday the government won't deport or repatriate 11 Iraqi Christians detained Jan. 20 in the northern city of Monterrey.

Cecilia Romero said the detainees may be granted asylum or simply be freed and allowed to go where they want. The group of nine men, one woman and a two-year-old girl had said they were trying to reach California, where there is a sizable community of Iraqi Chaldean Christians.

"The situation in Iraq, as we all know, is a conflict situation," Romero told reporters. "The most recent group that arrived in Nuevo Leon were fleeing the war in their country, so we couldn't simply say to them 'go,' without raising the question, where?"

The Iraqis had traveled from Madrid, Spain, and were carrying false passports when they were arrested at Monterrey's airport. None appeared on terrorist watch lists.

Chaldean Christians frequently try to enter the United States through Mexico, claiming they face persecution in Iraq.

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