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ACLU attempts to block deportation of Iraqi Christians
27 June 2017, 12:58 | Maryann Sutton
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 ACLU says a freeze is necessary so Iraqi nationals can go to immigration court and argue that their lives would be in jeopardy if returned to their native country.
The ACLU argued that many of those affected in MI are Chaldean Catholics who are "widely recognised as targets of brutal persecution in Iraq".
Margo Schlanger, a University of MI law professor, who argued on behalf of the ACLU, told U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith that it only made sense that he expand his 14-day order to block the immediate deportation of other Iraqis around the nation in places like Nashville and California.
"The court took a life-saving action by blocking our clients from being immediately sent back to Iraq", the ACLU said in a statement at the time.
The judge's current order protects more than 100 Iraqis in MI who were detained earlier this month for deportation.
Immigration agents swept metro Detroit earlier this month with some detained having committed crimes when they were younger.
ICE stated that the detainees had criminal records, and although they had entered the USA legally and had not yet become citizens, they were no longer eligible for full citizenship.
Christian watch-dog groups have noted that Iraq, home to about 1.5 million Christians in 2003, now has fewer than 300,000, all of whom face severe persecution and even death at the hands of Islamic radicals, many aligned with ISIS.
Let's see how much clout they have...before the judge's restraining order expires next week.
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"After their arrest, the vast majority of petitioners were transferred to the Northeast Ohio Correction Center in Youngstown, Ohio where they face imminent removal to Iraq", the judge wrote. "We are American, and we are part of the system".
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is going on trial in Phoenix on a criminal charge stemming from immigration enforcement actions that are similar to the rhetoric and crackdowns pushed by President Donald Trump.
At issue is the June 11 arrests of numerous Iraqi nationals by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Najah owns a tobacco shop in the Detroit area.
"Hopefully someone will have a heart to keep him here", Shoki said.
Judge Mark Goldsmith said in an order on Thursday that those arrested would not be deported for at least two weeks.
The US attorney's office argued that a federal district court did not have jurisdiction over whether or not these Iraqis can be deported.
Goldsmith said that "the court is unsure whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction", according toDetroit News. They believe it should be handled by an immigration court, according to Gina Balaya, public information officer for the USA attorney's office for the Eastern District of MI.
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