Judge Blocks Deportation of More Than 1,400 Iraqi Immigrants

Kris Maher, Wall Street Journal

A federal judge in Detroit temporarily blocked the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi immigrants with criminal records who were detained by federal immigration agents last month.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction sought by attorneys for a group of Iraqis until they can make their case in immigration courts that their deportation would be illegal.

Lawyers for the immigrants, many of whom are Christians, have argued that their return to Iraq would subject them to persecution, torture and possible death. Attorneys for the federal government had argued that the district court had no jurisdiction in the case.


Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Tuesday the agency would have a comment on the judge’s ruling later in the day. The agency had previously said that Iraq recently agreed to accept Iraqi nationals who had been subject to removal orders.

All of the individuals detained recently had past criminal convictions, including serious offenses such as homicide and aggravated assault and robbery, and a federal immigration judge had previously ordered them to be removed, the agency said.