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USA judge halts deportation of over 100 Iraqi Christians

27 June 2017

A federal judge has issued a stay on the deportation of Chaldean and Iraq immigrants arrested by ICE agents for 14 days.

A federal court halted the deportation of more than 100 Chaldean Christians that Homeland Security had been poised to send back to their home in Iraq, as a judge dealt yet another blow to President Trump's immigration plans.

The latest filing said that even though most of the Iraqis were ordered to be deported years ago, "the government released them, often under orders of supervision".

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith said in a written order on Thursday that deportation is halted for two weeks as he determines whether the court has jurisdiction.

Goldsmith granted the stay "pending the Court's determination regarding whether it has subject-matter jurisdiction", according to court documents. They had argued they could face persecution or torture in Iraq due to their status as religious minorities, The Associated Press reports. She also argues that the detainees likely won't win their arguments before immigration courts. Moreover, she argued that Goldsmith doesn't have jurisdiction to decide immigration matters that belong in immigration court, and that this case shouldn't be granted class action status.

Schlanger argued that Detroit seemed to make the most sense to seek the nationwide order since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been moving the detainees around every few days.

"It's an unusual case for all kinds of reasons", he said.

The courts granted a nationwide temporary restraining order that suspended much of the order. That executive order and the revised order that followed were both challenged in lower courts which ruled in favor of the states that brought suit, setting up today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ACLU challenged the government after ICE agents arrested more than 100 Iraqis -including many who've been in the USA for decades - in recent raids throughout metropolitan Detroit.

In a letter sent to Chaldean Bishop Frank Kalabat, who heads the Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Detroit, Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako expresses solidarity and closeness to Iraqi families affected by expulsion orders, and hopes that the USA government will find adequate solutions to the humanitarian emergency caused by the expulsion measures.

"The operation in this region was specifically conducted to address the very real public safety threat represented by the criminal aliens arrested".

"The court took a life-saving action by blocking our clients from being immediately sent back to Iraq", said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, who argued the case. 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.

USA judge halts deportation of over 100 Iraqi Christians