Judge: De­port­ing Iraqis with records en­dan­gers them

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

A fed­eral court halted the de­por­ta­tion of more than 100 Chaldean Chris­tians that Home­land Se­cu­rity had been poised to send back to their home in Iraq, as a judge dealt yet another blow to Pres­i­dent Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion plans.

Judge Mark A. Goldsmith, an Obama ap­pointee to the bench, said he feared some of the Iraqis’ lives would be in dan­ger if sent to Iraq, and said that was too much of a risk to run while he heard more ex­ten­sive ar­gu­ments in the case.

He is­sued an in­junc­tion grant­ing a 14-day stay of de­por­ta­tions for all Iraqis ar­rested in the Detroit re­gion re­cently or in the com­ing days.

Judge Goldsmith said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion was mov­ing with “speed” to try to de­port the Iraqis, so he felt com­pelled to step in to po­ten­tially save lives.

“Such harm far out­weighs any con­ceiv­able in­ter­est the Gov­ern­ment might have in the im­me­di­ate en­force­ment of the re­moval or­ders, be­fore this Court can clar­ify whether it has ju­ris­dic­tion to grant re­lief to Pe­ti­tion­ers on the mer­its of their claims,” he wrote.

The Iraqis in­clude con­victed mur­der­ers, rapists, bur­glars and drug traf­fick­ers who are ei­ther il­le­gal im­mi­grants or who came legally then com­mit­ted crimes that make them de­portable.

But they ar­gued that send­ing them back to Iraq, where the U.S. gov­ern­ment has said Chaldeans face geno­cide, is akin to a death sen­tence. They want to have their cases re­opened so they can ar­gue that cir­cum­stances have changed in their home coun­tries, mak­ing their pre­vi­ous de­por­ta­tion or­ders null.

U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment has ar­rested nearly 200 Iraqis since the start of May, in­clud­ing 114 in the Detroit area, which is home to a large Chaldean pop­u­la­tion. Nearly all have crim­i­nal records.

“The op­er­a­tion in this re­gion was specif­i­cally con­ducted to ad­dress the very real public safety threat rep­re­sented by the crim­i­nal aliens ar­rested,” Gil­lian Christensen, an ICE spokes­woman, said in de­fend­ing the ar­rests last week. “The vast ma­jor­ity of those ar­rested in the Detroit metropoli­tan area have very se­ri­ous felony con­vic­tions.”

Some Iraqis have been un­der de­por­ta­tion or­ders for years, but the Iraqi gov­ern­ment re­fused to ac­cept them un­til the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion struck a deal with Iraq ear­lier this year for the Mid­dle East­ern na­tion to start ac­cept­ing its de­por­tees again.

ICE didn’t im­me­di­ately com­ment on the judge’s rul­ing Thurs­day.

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