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iraqi nationals

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Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has misled a federal court about whether Iraqi detainees can go back to Iraq.

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A federal judge in Detroit has ruled the government cannot threaten Iraqi detainees with indefinite detention or prosecution to get them to sign a document saying they want to leave the US. The government is trying to deport the Iraqis, who say they face persecution or death if they return to Iraq.

ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman says the detainees are being denied legal assistance.

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The ACLU was in court Monday trying to get a federal judge to issue an order that immigration officers cannot threaten or coerce detained Iraqis into signing a document that could help deport them.

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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.

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A federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will affect the fates of hundreds of Iraqi nationals living in Michigan.

Scores of Iraqi nationals living in Metro Detroit were picked up as part of a nationwide sweep by federal immigration agents.

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Michigan Radio

The Metro Detroit man who’s become the face of about 200 Iraqis fighting deportation was allowed to walk free on bond after an immigration judge’s ruling on Thursday.

Usama Hamama, better known as Sam, has been in jail since he was swept up in immigration raids last June. Those raids centered in Metro Detroit, and targeted Iraqi nationals with prior criminal convictions.

Bond hearings beginning for Iraqi detainees

Jan 19, 2018
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Bond hearings have started to be held for some of the nearly 300 Iraqi nationals who have been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And a lot more will start next week.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith ordered the release by February 2 of the detainees who have been held for more than six months, unless the government can show that they are a flight or public safety risk.

DETROIT - Hundreds of Iraqi nationals held for months under U.S. deportation orders will get a shot at freedom while they fight their removal.

Detroit federal Judge Mark Goldsmith on Tuesday ordered immigration judges to release the detainees unless they're a public safety risk. The order applies to people who have been held for at least six months.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

A federal judge in Detroit has promised a ruling soon on whether roughly 300 Iraqi Christian detainees will be released while they wait for their immigration cases to be re-opened.

The detainees face deportation orders for crimes, often committed many years ago. They would like their cases re-considered because they say they face persecution if they are returned to Iraq.              

Miriam Aukerman is an ACLU attorney. She says the families are hoping for a Christmas gift.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement office was the target of a Christmas-themed protest on Sunday.

The protesters want hundreds of Iraqi nationals released immediately. Nearly 300 Iraqis with criminal records have been in federal detention for months, after most were swept up in mass arrests this spring.

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A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the government to provide immigration files to Iraqis being detained while they fight deportation. The detainees have been held for months in facilities all across the country while they wait on records needed to go to immigration court.

Miriam Aukerman is an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. She says hundreds of detainees were being held with no end in sight while the federal government slow-walked their records.

“People are literally in jail because there’s a line at the photocopier,” she said.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the federal government from deporting more than 200 Iraqi nationals arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in June. It could also apply to another 1,200 Iraqis who have final removal orders nationwide.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued the ruling Monday, before a stay he issued earlier this month was set to expire. The new ruling will stave off deportations for three months while the legal challenge makes its way through the courts.

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The woman's husband is among the more than 100 Iraqi nationals living in Michigan who were arrested by Immigrations and Customs agents in June. 

Friday, she sat in the back row of federal district judge Mark Goldsmith's courtroom, listening as the government argued her husband and the others they detained should face immediate deportation, and the ACLU argued that amounts to a death sentence for many -- and is against both U.S. and international law.

She withheld her name, for fear of retaliation in her husband's case, but agreed to tell his story.

Judge's gavel
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Iraqi nationals facing possible deportation from the U.S. won an important victory in court this week. Tuesday, Detroit U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a ruling that put a pause on any government plans to deport an estimated 1,400 Iraqi nationals living in the United States with final orders of removal.  

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith says, in spite of federal law that restricts judicial review of deportation proceedings, his court does have jurisdiction to block the deportation of some 1,400 Iraqis.

After cutting a deal with Iraq’s government earlier this year, the Trump administration moved quickly to deport non-citizen Iraqi-Americans with criminal records and standing removal orders. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed a removal flight in April. 

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

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.

A courtroom
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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 order he 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.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The ACLU of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit to stop the deportation of about 100 Iraqi immigrants.

Immigration enforcement officials arrested the immigrants last weekend in a series of raids in the Detroit area. These officials say everyone taken into custody has a criminal record and was ordered removed from the United States.

But Michael Steinberg of the ACLU says many of those orders are decades old. And the situation in Iraq has changed. Many of the immigrants in custody are Chaldean Christians, a group that now faces persecution in Iraq

"Federal law and international treaty forbids the United States from sending individuals back to countries where they face the danger of persecution, torture or death," Steinberg says.