US Court Halts Deportation of 1500 Iraqis

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 12, 2017

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted an injunction against deporting more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals who face removal, including 114 arrested last month in Metro Detroit.

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith in MI said he had the authority to order the government to keep the Iraqis in the county while their deportation cases proceeded in immigration court.

"This Court concludes that to enforce the Congressional mandate that district courts lack jurisdiction - despite the compelling context of this case - would expose Petitioners to the substantiated risk of death, torture, or other grave persecution before their legal claims can be tested in a court", Goldsmith wrote in a 24-page opinion. They believe their religion, the group is split between Chaldean Catholics and Iraqi Kurds, could make them the target of attacks back home.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which argued in favor of suspending the deportations, welcomed Tuesday's ruling and said it averted the possibility that individual Iraqis could be physically deported before their asylum claims were properly and fully examined in the U.S.

The Iraqis arrested by immigration authorities had outstanding deportation orders and many had been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from homicide to weapons and drug charges, according to the USA government.

The U.S. government said 1,400 Iraqis are under deportation orders nationwide, though most are not in custody.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Some of those arrested committed crimes decades ago and had been allowed to remain in the United States because Iraq until recently refused to issue them travel documents.

Their situation, however, changed in March when Iraq agreed to receive them following a deal sealed by President Donald Trump.

Goldsmith scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the next steps in the litigation.

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