Political Since 2017-07-12 at 09:38 (Baghdad time)
Baghdad Mawazine News
A US judge admitted that the government could not immediately deport nearly 200 Iraqi immigrants who had been arrested last month, saying they would be persecuted if they were expelled from the country.
Judge Mark Goldsmith of Michigan said he had the power to issue a government order to keep Iraqis in the country when deportation cases were being brought before the courts.
In his decision, Goldsmith said the return of Iraqis would now "put them at risk of death, torture or other serious persecution before considering their legal claims in court."
Most of these people were arrested in the Detroit area and were also arrested in Tennessee, New Mexico and California, many of them Chaldean Christians and Iraqi Kurds.
The two communities say they may be vulnerable to attacks in Iraq because they are obvious minorities. The ruling said the government was seeking to expel more than 1,400 Iraqis from across the country.
The measures come as part of the Bush administration's efforts to tighten immigration laws and urge states to welcome people expelled from the United States.
The US government says Iraqis detained by immigration authorities have been issued deportation orders, many of whom have been convicted of serious crimes ranging from murder to arms and drug charges.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
The ministry has argued that immigration courts alone have the power to determine the status of Iraqis.
"The federal courts must be able to ensure that the government acts with a moratorium, especially when the lives of people are at risk," the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the Iraqis, said in a statement.
Some detainees committed crimes decades ago and were allowed to remain in the United States because Iraq had until recently refused to issue travel documents.
But that situation changed after Baghdad agreed in March to accept the deportees from the United States as part of an agreement to remove Iraq from President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban list.