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Telkaif in the early 1900s was a poor, non-industrialized village.
As he and his wife become citizens, they arrange for the migration of their parents and siblings as well.
While the vast majority of Iraqis, like residents of other Arabic nations, are Muslim, Chaldeans are Roman Catholic, and practice one of the 18 to 20 separate rites of the Catholic Church.
They also differ from other Iraqis in that their ancestral language is not Arabic but a dialect of Aramaic, also referred to as Chaldean, Assyrian, or Syriac.
The majority of Chaldean Americans live in Detroit, Michigan, although there are also Chaldean Americans in Chicago, Illinois; El Cajon, San Jose, and Turlock, California; and Oaxaca, Mexico. According to statistical projections from previous data on the Chaldean American community, however, it is estimated that Chaldeans in the Detroit metropolitan area may number as many as 70,000 to 80,000; in California they are projected at 2,000 to 3,000 persons.
It is difficult to determine the exact number of Chaldeans in the United States because they are not represented as such in the U. Although Chaldean Americans constitute the bulk of Iraqi immigrants living in the United States, they represent less than 10 percent of the population of Iraq.
The assistance they provide can take many forms, including the provision of jobs, a place to stay, or, at the very least, information and advisement.
Close relatives may even provide money for passage.
Thus began an immigration process, known as "chain migration," between Telkaif and Detroit, that continues to the present.
In this process, members of a community who have already established themselves in a new location assist relatives and friends left behind to migrate as well.
They were permitted to retain their historic rituals and the Chaldean/Aramaic language for mass and other ceremonies.
Searching for an appropriate name to call this new Catholic rite, the Pope focused on their historic homeland, which in ancient times had been the land of the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Chaldeans.
Over 95 percent of Chaldeans in the Detroit community can trace their origin to a single town, Telkaif, which is one of several Christian towns in the northern Iraqi province of Mosul, near the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh.