Judge blocks deportation of Chaldeans and other Iraqis

US judge in Michigan blocks deportation of more than 100 Iraqis

A federal judge granted a temporary two-week stay Thursday for more than 100 Iraqi nationals arrested by immigration officials in MI, blocking their deportations for now.

The order came down Thursday evening just after 7 p.m.by Judge Mark A. Goldsmith.

Goldsmith said "the Court is unsure whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction".

The news service says the MI roundup was part of a broader sweep in which immigration authorities detained close to 200 Iraqi immigrants across the country.

"ICE regularly conducts targeted enforcement operations during which additional resources and personnel are dedicated to apprehending removable aliens". The Christian leaders called on the Trump administration to "exercise the discretion available under law to defer the deportation of Chaldeans who pose no threat to US public safety to Iraq until such time as the situation in Iraq stabilizes and its government proves willing and capable of protecting the rights of religious minorities".

In the meantime, the lower court orders would stand. The background President Trump signed an executive order that would ban refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days and would suspend a refugee program for 120 days.

Iraq had previously refused to accept the Chaldeans, "in some cases, for humanitarian reasons", Thursday's decision read. "The public interest is also better served by an orderly court process that assures that petitioners' invocation of federal court relief is considered before the removal process continues".

The judge will issue a written opinion.

Judge Goldsmith said the Trump administration was moving with "speed" to try to deport the Iraqis, so he felt compelled to step in to potentially save lives. "The vast majority of those arrested in the Detroit metropolitan area have very serious felony convictions, multiple felony convictions in many cases". "When your life is on the line, each day is a victory - and in this case, 14 days", he said.

The order noted that the detainees could face persecution if they are deported to Iraq. "Iraq assumes a few hundred former nationals - some of these people have spent almost their entire lives here and some have committed minor offenses".

Attorneys for the Iraqis, meanwhile, have been filing appeals for the detainees in immigration and local county courts.

Walls said that some of those arrested had criminal convictions of homicide, rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping, burglary, drug trafficking, robbery, sex assault, weapons violations and other offenses. The American Civil Liberties Union wants him to extend the deportation freeze to all Iraqis who have been ordered to leave the U.S. "Their deportation represents a death sentence should they be deported to Iraq or Syria".

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