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Hundreds crowd Lafayette Street in solidarity with Chaldeans facing possible deportation

Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Protestors holding signs on Lafayette Street in Detroit in solidarity with the Chaldean immigrants who are facing possible deportation back to Iraq.

Lafayette Street between Shelby and Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit was flooded with people supporting several Iraqi-American immigrants facing possible deportation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, arrested these immigrants in metro-Detroit more than a week ago.

Most have criminal records, but have already served time or paid their fines.

Carrie Heichle is the wife of one of the men arrested during the ICE sweeps.

She says her two sons are having a hard time without their dad.

“My biggest fear is the heartache for my boys. They told me they can’t live without him,” Heichle said.

With protestors loudly showing support outside, two arguments occurred in the courtroom.

First, whether a federal judge has jurisdiction in this case, and the second was whether these people can be deported to a country where they face almost certain persecution.

Margo Schlanger, one of the attorneys representing the Chaldean families in the case, says the judge seemed to understand that time is of the essence in these cases.

“There has to be enough time for people to be heard in a meaningful way at a meaningful time by the government so that they can assert their claims to relief from persecution and torture,” Schlanger said.

Schlanger is unsure how the judge might rule, but is hopeful.

“I’m really optimistic that we’ll get the time that we need for everyone to get the hearing they’re entitled to,” she said.

The federal judge handling the case has yet to rule on whether these men will be granted a stay of removal.

However, none of them can be deported to Iraq before June 27th regardless of how the judge rules.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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