Detained Iraqis, Iraqi Christians, Judge Mark Goldsmith, US Government

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — The U.S. government says it will appeal an order that suspended the deportation of 1,400 people to Iraq.

It’s unclear why the Justice Department waited nearly two months after the injunction was signed by a Detroit federal judge. The appeal notice was filed Thursday.

WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton weighed in on the appeal, and said it won’t change anything for now but could result in some big changes down the road.

“It will not change anything for the moment unless the court of appeals decides that ‘hey we think the judge was wrong and we are going to do something about it,'” Langton said. “So theoretically this is not a surprise. We thought there would be an appeal, however, saying all of that I do understand that parties are trying to stay in agreement. Trying to figure out how many Iraqi’s are involved, where they are at right now, do they have lawyers, do they have any legal remedies in court. These are all things they are trying to work out with the government and the people representing these Iraqi’s.”

In July, Judge Mark Goldsmith blocked the deportation of Iraqi nationals to give them time to challenge their removal in immigration court. Many are Christians who fear they’ll be tortured or killed if sent to Iraq.

The government says the Iraqis have committed crimes in the U.S. and must be kicked out now that Iraq will accept them. Roughly 21 percent of the 1,400 are in custody at federal detention centers. Some are on hunger strikes.

Earlier this summer ICE agents rounded-up 234 local Iraqi Christians.

Langton said while this appeal doesn’t change anything for now, it still should worry the detained Iraqi Christians.

“Things get messy, we don’t know what the appellate court will do,” Langton said. “The appellate court could very well say ‘Judge Goldsmith you’re wrong, we are going to change something out there.’ So right now if you’re a detained Iraqi you’re worried now because you have a little bit of a break in the district court (but) now that the government is appealing it your life is upside down.”

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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