Creating new perspectives since 2009

US judge halts deportation of Iraqi immigrants

July 12, 2017 at 1:48 am

WASHINGTON, USA: A man holds up an American Flag in a crowd of Clinton and Trump supporters that has gather in front of the White House as the results of the 2016 Presidential Election became clear in Washington, USA on 9 November 2016. [Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

A US judge on Tuesday ruled that the government cannot immediately deport nearly 200 Iraqi immigrants arrested last month who argued they would face persecution if they were removed from the country.

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Michigan said he had the authority to order the government to keep the Iraqis in the county while their deportation cases proceeded in immigration court.

Many of 199 Iraqis detained – largely in the Detroit area and in Nashville – were Chaldean Catholics and Iraqi Kurds. Both groups say they could be targeted for attacks in Iraq because they are visible minorities.

Read: US judge expands order blocking Iraqis’ deportation

Those arrested by immigration authorities had outstanding deportation orders and many had been convicted of serious crimes, ranging from homicide to weapons and drug charges, according to the US government.

In his ruling, Goldsmith said sending the Iraqis back now would expose them to a “substantiated risk of death, torture, or other grave persecution before their legal claims can be tested in a court.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.


Some of those arrested came to the United States as children and committed their crimes decades ago, but they had been allowed to stay because Iraq previously declined to issue them travel documents.

That changed after Iraq agreed in March to start accepting US deportees as part of a deal that removed the country from President Donald Trump’s revised temporary travel ban.