Michigan judge halts deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians

Michigan judge halts deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians
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A federal judge in Michigan on Thursday blocked the deportation of more than 100 Iraqi Christians, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) press release.

The ACLU filed for a restraining order, which the judge granted. The 114 Christians, most of whom are from the Chaldean sect, say they risk death if they are forced to return to Iraq.

“The court took a life-saving action by blocking our clients from being immediately sent back to Iraq,” the ACLU said in a statement. “They should have a chance to show that their lives are in jeopardy if forced to return.”


According to the ACLU, many of the 114 Iraqis have been living in the U.S. for decades. They were arrested in recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the greater Detroit area.

“We are thankful and relieved that our clients will not be immediately be sent to Iraq, where they face grave danger of persecution, torture or death," the ACLU statement continues. "It would be unconstitutional and unconscionable to deport these individuals without giving them an opportunity to demonstrate the harm that awaits them in Iraq."

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith halted the deportation for 14 days while he decides whether his court has jurisdiction to hear the case. ICE says that all of the detainees have criminal convictions.