DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A federal judge has halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals, many of them Christians, while the orders to remove them from the U.S. are reviewed by the courts.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith issued a 24-page opinion Tuesday evening says both sides are right in part, but under the law, the federal district courts are generally the “first responders” when rights guaranteed by the Constitution require protection.

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The order asserts jurisdiction in the case over the objection of the Justice Department.


Lawyers for the government and those facing deportation will be back in federal court Thursday afternoon to discuss a preliminary injunction that would keep the government from deporting those taken into custody last month.

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In mid-June – the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop the government from deporting more than 100 Iraqi nationals rounded up in raids by ICE.

The ACLU contends most of the 114 Iraqis arrested in 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.


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