On June 22, Judge Mark Goldsmith of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan temporariliy blocked the deportation of approximately 100 Iraqi nationals rounded up over the past few weeks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Judge Goldsmith stopped the deportation for another two weeks to determine whether he has jurisdiction over the matter.
These 100 Iraqis are part of a group of nearly 200 Iraqi nationals who were slated for deportation due to prior criminal convictions as well as being given final deportation orders by federal officials. According to Reuters, many of these refugees committed crimes decades ago but did not return to Iraq due to the souring relationship between the United States and Iraq in the past. Last March, Iraq agreed to accept future deportees following President Trump's agreement to remove Iraq from the list of nations in his disputed executive order temporarily halting refugees from nations facing radical Islamic terror concerns.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented many of the deportees, argued that these Iraqi nationals are Chaldean Catholics, a religious minority in Iraq who could face imminent persecution in Iraq. However, the United States government argues that the U.S. District Court does not have jurisdiction over these deportations since immigration issues are reserved for federal immigration courts.