Federal judge suspends deportation of Iraqis across US

A federal judge in Michigan has suspended the deportation of over 1,000 Iraqis scheduled to be returned to their country of origin, citing safety concerns.

In an emergency order issued on Monday evening, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith determined 1,444 Iraqis were at grave risk if returned to Iraq.

“The substantial allegations made here are the detainees face extreme, grave consequences: death, persecution and torture.  Such harm far outweighs any government interest the government may have in proceeding with the removals immediately,” Goldsmith wrote in his order.

The Monday decision follows a Thursday ruling by Goldsmith in which he halted to deportation of 114 Iraqis slated to be returned to Iraq as early as Tuesday, June 27.  The detainees were arrested during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sweep in Detroit on June 11.

Goldsmiths’ June 22 ruling came after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in early June demanding the deportation be stopped.

Of the 114 set to be deported, a majority were Chaldean Christians; and the remainder of those detained were converts and Sunni Muslims.  ICE had argued all of those detained and planned for expatriation had criminal records, including rape and kidnapping.

Challenging Goldsmith was U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch, who referred to the ruling as “highly extraordinary.”

“But it’s a very extraordinary circumstance because of the on-the-ground situation in Iraq,” Lemisch said, expressing skepticism the Iraqis faced danger.


[Reuters] [Sputnik] [Photo courtesy Bryce Huffman/Michigan Radio]