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Federal Judge Blocks Deportation of Metro Detroit Iraqis

More than 100 Iraqi Christians living in the Detroit area face a temporary reprieve from deportation.The ACLU of MI had filed a class-action lawsuit on June 15 to halt federal immigration officials from deporting more than 100 Iraqi nationals rounded up by federal agents.”The operation in this region was specifically conducted to address the very real public safety threat represented by the criminal aliens arrested”, Gillian Christensen, an ICE spokeswoman, said in defending the arrests last week.In a statement after today’s decision, the Detroit office of ICE said: “ICE is now reviewing the judge’s order”.”The agency intends to comply with the terms of the order, while determining the appropriate next steps”, Walls said via email. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has defended the detainees, who were identified by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) due to their past criminal records. The Detroit metropolitan area is home to the largest U.S. group of Chaldeans.The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairmen of the bishops’ migration and global policy committees urged Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to defer the deportation of Chaldeans earlier this week.Many faced persecution during the Saddam Hussein era, during the Iraq war and after ISIS seized territory in Iraq.”The court took a life-saving action by blocking our clients from being immediately sent back to Iraq”, Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a release. That their lives would be in danger if they were returned could be said about hundreds of thousands of illegals from Central America and elsewhere. And in this case, 14 days.The Patriarch notes that numerous Iraqi refugees have lived in the USA for a long time, and can not be suspected of representing a danger to U.S. national security.”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. As of April 17, there were 1,444 Iraqi nationals with final orders of removal from the US. “We are American, and we are part of the system”.Najah Konja has a criminal record. He was convicted of drug conspiracy charges as a 21-year-old and spent about 20 years behind bars. “For them to return for sure will be to face discrimination, torture, if not the death penalty when they get there”. He’s engaged and has been staying out of trouble, his brother said.One of the petitioners, Moayad Barash, 47, was detained by immigration agents during a family beach outing in June.Dass said he had two clients that contacted him when the Trump administration first announced its immigration policy.U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith is delaying their deportation for 14 days so he can decide if his court has jurisdiction in their case.Attorneys for the Iraqis have been filing appeals for the detainees in immigration and local county courts. They believe it should be handled by an immigration court, according to Gina Balaya, public information officer for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of MI.Goldsmith granted the stay “pending the Court’s determination regarding whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction”, according to court documents.