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Detroit judge expands temporary halt to Iraqi deportations nationwide

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter
Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the U.S. not to deport any Iraqi nationals for at least the next two weeks. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling Monday night expanded a temporary restraining orderhe issued last week.

That order applied only to Iraqi immigrants that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up in the Detroit area this month.

Goldsmith said returning them to Iraq could cause “irreparable harm” that outweighed the government’s interest in a speedy process.

Over the weekend, the ACLU asked for an emergency hearing to expand that order to all Iraqis the U.S. is threatening to deport.

Goldsmith agreed to do that. He rejected the government’s argument that he doesn’t have nationwide jurisdiction over immigration detentions, citing the "extraordinary circumstances" of the case.

Goldsmith still needs to rule on whether he has jurisdiction in the larger lawsuit: A proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than 1400 Iraqi nationals who say they face the threat of torture, persecution, and death if returned to Iraq.

After cutting a deal with Iraq’s government earlier this year,the Trump Administration has moved quickly to deport non-citizen Iraqi-Americans with criminal records and standing removal orders.

Goldsmith is set to rule on whether he has jurisdiction to hear the larger case within the next two weeks. The U.S. government says he doesn’t. 

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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