Michigan Judge Blocks Iraqi Deportations

The deportation of over 1000 Iraqis from the US, after they were targeted in recent immigration raids, has been blocked by a Michigan federal court. US District Judge, Mark Goldsmith, has expanded an order issued last week, initially preventing removal of the 114 Iraqi nationals from the Detroit area. He agrees with immigrant advocates that the Iraqis could be imprisoned or even killed if sent back to their home country.

The move came as the US Supreme Court reinstated some parts of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. Judge Goldsmith agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union, which claimed that many of the immigrants in Iraq, some of whom are Kurds, Sunni Muslims, and Chaldean Catholics, would face physical danger.

Goldsmith decided that the government’s interest in proceeding with immediate removals was far outweighed by the potential order. The judge expanded his previous order to apply to Iraqi nationals across the US facing final orders of removal after a request from lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. The decision affects as many as 1444 immigrants from Iraq, given deportation orders by Immigration and Customs Enforcement either because they committed a criminal offense or for overstaying their US visas.

In court on Monday, federal prosecutors insisted that 199 of those immigrants were recently detained, and ICE claim that many of the Iraqis now held have serious criminal convictions for offenses such as kidnapping and rape. The immigrants have until 10 July to find lawyers to appeal their deportation.