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ACLU seeks release of Iraqi detainees

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force
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The ACLU is trying to force the release of Iraqi detainees being held by federal immigration authorities. The civil liberties group filed a motion today with a federal judge in Detroit.

This is happening as the first round of detainees are getting their government files, which will allow them to start the process of having their cases re-opened.

Miriam Aukerman is an ACLU attorney. She says hundreds of detainees have been locked up for four or five months without a hearing.

“And there’s absolutely no reason why they should be incarcerated," she says. "ICE has not only thrown these Iraqis in jail, but ICE has thrown away the key.”

The Iraqis face deportation orders because of crimes, often committed years ago. Aukerman says they’ve lived lawfully for many years in the country, and should be able to live at home for the months or years it will take for their cases to be resolved.

"These are individuals who have a right to be heard before an immigration judge before they can be locked up. You can’t lock people up indefinitely without ever getting to see a judge,” Aukerman said.

The government has until the end of the month to respond.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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