Iraqi Nationals Successfully Argue About Fear of Religious Prosecution
A United States Federal Judge has temporarily stopped the deportation of Iraqis from the United States. Judge Mark Goldsmith from Michigan agreed with an injunction that will delay any deportations until all defendants have an ability to be tried in immigration court.
The U.S. government was deporting them because they had either overstayed their visas or had been found guilty of some crime, typically a misdemeanor.
Judge Goldsmith stated three reasons for this. First was the Iraqis did not have time to sufficiently prepare for their court cases because many of the cases had suddenly restarted after several years. The second reason was the accused had been sent to facilities all around the United States, which made it difficult for them to find lawyers and sufficient resources. Thirdly was the risk of religious and ethnic persecution that might occur if they were returned to Iraq. Many of the 1,400 Iraqis are Chaldean Christians and Kurds, who would face torture or death for their ethnic identity or religious beliefs.
While the government argued the deportees had sufficient time for their legal defense, Judge Goldsmith disagreed. The decision will last for at least several months.
The reason why the cases were reinstated are connected to President Trump’s travel ban. Iraq was originally one of the restricted countries in the ban. A deal was reached between the two nations that Iraq would remain off the list if they took back Iraqi nationals who were planned to be deported.
Many of the those chosen for deportation came to the United States decades ago and have little connection to Iraq. Human rights groups have praised the decision. The U.S. government has not made an official statement.