DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — Lawyers who successfully sued to stop the deportation of 1,400 people to Iraq complained Thursday that federal agents are harassing some in U.S. custody by urging them to give up the fight or face more than a year in detention while their cases slowly move through the immigration system.
As the legal challenge on their behalf continues to play out they remain in detention, and according to ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman under intimidation by federal agents.
“The detention is terrible,” Aukerman told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Jon Hewett. “These individuals are being told you won’t be able to go back to your family and you’re going to get deported anyway so why even try.”
The American Civil Liberties Union accused agents and guards of coercion. U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a status hearing, weeks after he blocked the deportation of Iraqi nationals to give them time to challenge their removal. Many are Christians who fear they’ll be tortured or killed if sent to Iraq.
At a hearing in front U.S. District Court judge Mark Goldsmith on Thursday, who’s issued a stay of the deportations, federal prosecutors say they are just now learning of the allegations.
There was also plenty going on outside the Levin Courthouse on Thursday with a rally taking place. More than 150 family members of detainees came out for the rally, including Denisha Reinwater. She is the wife of Majia Cholack of Berkley, who is being held. She said her kids need their father to be released and return home.
“We are going to pray for them to come home,” Reinwater said. “My kids they miss their dad. Everyday they ask me where is their dad at. They miss him.”
The legal battle of the detainee’s future continues next week.
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