U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Michigan issued an order staying the deportation of about 100 Iraqi nationals in Michigan. Judge Goldsmith stayed the deportation of the Iraqis for at least two weeks as he decides whether he has jurisdiction over the matter.
The arrests shocked the close-knit Iraqi community in Michigan. The Iraqi nationals argue that they could face persecution or torture in Iraq because they are religious minorities. Six Michigan lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives urged the government to hold off on the removals until Congress can be given assurances about the deportees’ safety.
The Michigan arrests were part of a coordinated sweep in recent weeks by immigration authorities who detained about 199 Iraqi immigrants around the country. The immigrants had final deportation orders and convictions for serious crimes. The roundup followed Iraq’s agreement to accept deportees as part of a deal that removed the country from Trump’s revised temporary travel ban.
Some of the immigrants affected came to the U.S. as children and committed their crimes decades ago, but they had been allowed to stay because Iraq previously declined to issue travel documents for them. That changed after the two governments came to the agreement in March.