Many Christian Iraqi immigrants backed President Donald Trump in 2016 because he regularly decried the killings of Christians in the Middle East.
Three years later, however, some of them are feeling betrayed as the president deports members of their community back to the country that he once accused of failing to protect its Christian population.
The Los Angeles Times reports that America’s largest community of Iraqi immigrants in Michigan is feeling a wave of anxiety after the recent deportation of 41-year-old Jimmy Aldaoud, who grew up in a refugee camp in Greece and had never been to Iraq until he was sent there earlier this year.
Aldaoud, a diabetic man who also struggled with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, died shortly after arriving in the country.
Eva Shamou, an Iraqi Christian who backed Trump in 2016 and whose uncle was recently sent back to Iraq despite living in the U.S. since the 1980s, tells the Los Angeles Times that many members of her community have become disillusioned with the president.
“Our church was pushing us to vote for Trump, but he sold us empty promises,” she explains. “We feel like we were betrayed… I honestly thought Trump would protect this community.”
Shamou also says that she fears for her uncle’s safety.
“He’s living in a dangerous place, and he has no money and no place to stay,” she tells the LA Times. “He told me he’s ready to commit suicide.”