A federal judge in Detroit ruled Thursday that the Iraqi immigrants detained recently by ICE can remain in the U.S. until at least July 24.
Judge Mark Goldsmith extended an earlier two-week stay he had granted the 114 Iraqis arrested in Michigan by federal immigration agents that sparked an outcry from Iraqi-American Christians. Goldsmith extended the stay, allowing attorneys more time to file appeals in courts. On Wednesday, attorneys for ICE said in court that they would agree to extend their stay until July 24.
The extension applies to 114 Iraqi nationals with criminal records arrested last month in Michigan, 85 additional Iraqis arrested outside the state, and any other Iraqi immigrants with final orders of deportation who were detained recently or will be detained.
It could affect up to 1,144 Iraqi immigrants facing potential deportation.
"This is great news," said Clarence Dass, an attorney who represents 25 of the Iraqis detained by ICE.
On June 11, ICE agents swept across metro Detroit, arresting 114 Iraqi nationals with criminal records. ICE has said they pose security threats and already had final orders of deportation by immigration judges. The roundup came after Iraq and the U.S. reached an agreement this year in March for the Iraqi nationals to be removed to Iraq.
Families and attorneys say that the Iraqis, many of them Christian, would face persecution in Iraq because they belong to a religious minority targeted by extremists.
Some of the Iraqis have lived in the U.S. most of their lives and say they will be unable to live in Iraq.
The ACLU Michigan and Michigan Immigrant Rights Center filed a lawsuit challenging the arrests, saying the Iraqis would face persecution in Iraq.
The case has drawn several protests from Iraqi-American Christians in metro Detroit who have said they are disappointed with President Donald Trump, some of whom supported him in the election.
Contact Niraj Warikoo: email@example.com or 313-223-4792. Follow him on Twitter @nwarikoo