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Judge extends temporary reprieve for Iraqis facing deportation

Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Protestors holding signs in solidarity with the Iraqi immigrants who are facing possible deportation.

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Detroit extended an order that puts a temporary hold on the U.S. government’s threat to deport some Iraqi nationals.

The Trump administration struck a deal with Iraq’s government earlier this year.

Since then, it’s moved quickly to start deporting up to 1,400 Iraqi nationals with criminal records.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued to stop that. The ACLU argues that some of those people face persecution or death in Iraq, and should at least get a chance to make that case in immigration court.

On June 23, Judge Mark Goldsmith put a two-week hold on deporting more than 100 Iraqi nationals living in Michigan. They had been rounded up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions in the Detroit area earlier that month.

Goldsmith later expanded it to cover all Iraqis facing deportation nationwide. Now he’s extended that temporary restraining order until at least July 24.

He says that “in light of the complexity of the issue,” the court needs more time to decide if it has jurisdiction over the larger case. The government maintains that it doesn’t.

In the meantime, the larger circumstances remain the same. Goldsmith ruled the plaintiffs deserve protection from possible "irreparable harm" if they're deported.

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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