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Detroit judge to hear motion against federal immigration authorities

courtroom gavel
Flickr/Joe Gratz
The ACLU of Michigan filed a motion saying federal immigration agents are mistreating hundreds of Iraqi detainees.

A Detroit judge will hear arguments today about alleged abuses by federal immigration agents.

The ACLU of Michigan filed a motion last week. It says agents are threatening and harassing detainees.

The ACLU represents several hundred Iraqi immigrants who face deportation orders for crimes – many of which were committed years ago and for which sentences were already served.

The motion says detainees are told if they don’t sign a statement saying they want to return to Iraq, they’ll be criminally prosecuted and detained indefinitely.

“This is an incredibly abusive, coercive situation that is rife with threats, rife with misinformation, rife with intimidation,” said ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman.

She said returning to Iraq would be dangerous for many detainees because they’re Christians who face religious persecution.

The ACLU also wants the judge to make sure they are able to speak to their clients – some of whom have already signed the document.

“If you are sitting in an interview, you’ve been in detention for a year, you’re called in and you’re told you will spend the rest of your life in jail unless you sign this piece of paper, what are you gonna do?” she said.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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