Attorneys argued the mostly Chaldean Christians, who were picked up during a series of raids in Detroit, would face demise or persecution if they returned to Iraq
A federal district judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians who lawyers told would face demise or persecution if returned to their birth country.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement( Ice) arrested 114 Iraqis, mostly Chaldean Christians, during a series of raids this month in and around Detroit.
Those apprehended had been subject to deportation orders and had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges. But lawyers challenged whether it was fair to return this population to Iraq, where Islamic State and other jihadist groups have targeted Chaldeans and other Christian groups.
In a class action suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the local Ice field office, attorneys told the majority of members of the 114 people had lived in the US for decades and now face imminent removal to Iraq, and the very real probability of persecution, torment or death.
Judge Mark Goldsmith said in an order on Thursday that those apprehended would not be deported for at the least two weeks. At the end of that period, he would make a new ruling.
The magistrates order applies to all Iraqi nationals within the jurisdiction of the Detroit Ice field office with final orders of removal, who have been, or will be, arrested and detained by Ice, including those detained in Michigan and transferred outside of Michigan to other detention locations.
Most of the person or persons arrested were ordered removed several years ago because of criminal convictions or for overstaying their visas, but the government had released them under orders of supervision that required them to check-in regularly with Ice. They had not been prioritized for expulsion under past presidential administrations.
The lawsuit described defendants who had constructed lives in the US, including Atheer Ali, 40, who entered the US as a child.
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