DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop the government from deporting more than 100 Iraqi nationals rounded up in raids last weekend.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Detroit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seeks a temporary stay of any deportations, which the ACLU fears could begin Friday.
The ACLU says most of the 114 Iraqis arrested in Michigan are Chaldean Christians but that there are also some Shiite Muslims and Christian converts. It says they all fear violent retribution, if deported.
ICE has said that all of those arrested had criminal convictions, including for murder, rape and drug trafficking, and were ordered deported by an immigration judge after “full and fair” proceedings.
Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation in Sterling Heights, telling WWJ that it’s “inhumane” to send Christians back to a country in which they’re going to be persecuted.
“The irony of this is that Congress just last week passed a resolution to declare genocide has been committed against Christians and other minorities in Iraq, and so here we are as a government sending them back to a country that has been persecuting this population,” says Manna.
The raids in metro Detroit follow a week where hundreds were rounded up in Texas, Tennessee and California – including several Kurdish refugees.
An ICE spokesman says the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)