A federal judge late on Monday halted the deportation of all Iraqi nationals detained during immigration sweeps this month across the United States until at least July 10, expanding a stay he imposed last week that initially only protected 114 detainees from the Detroit area.
US District Judge Mark Goldsmith sided with lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union who filed an amended complaint on Saturday seeking to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement from deporting 85 Iraqis from elsewhere in the United States.
The ACLU argued many of the Iraqi detainees are Chaldean Christians or Sunni Muslims and, thus, face danger of persecution if they are forced back to their native country.
There are 1,444 Iraqi nationals who have final deportation orders against them, federal prosecutors said in court on Monday. Of those, 199 of them currently are in custody of US immigration authorities, they said.