Immigration officials 'deeply disturbed' by court ruling favoring Iraqi detainees
Iraqi and Chaldean residents detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have applied for pardons for state violations from Gov. Rick Snyder as they try to avoid deportation back to Iraq. Wochit
DETROIT — Immigration authorities are lashing out at a federal judge in Detroit over his decision to grant bond hearings to hundreds of Iraqi detainees who are locked up in detention centers or jail, awaiting deportation.
In his Tuesday ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith concluded the detainees deserve the right to seek freedom while their cases wind their way through the courts and that locking them up indefinitely with no hearing is unconstitutional.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said they would abide by the ruling — but vow an appeal.
"ICE is deeply disturbed by the decision, but will comply with the decision unless and until it is reversed by an appellate court,” the agency said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
At issue is the fate of about 300 Iraqi immigrants who were arrested during a federal roundup last year and locked up in jails or detention centers in about two dozen states. The detainees include 114 Iraqi immigrants with criminal records who were arrested in Michigan in June. More than 1,400 Iraqis in total across the country face deportation.
Government officials have argued that the detainees have committed crimes in the U.S. and must be deported now that Iraq will accept them. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security said Iraq had agreed to start allowing the return of immigrants who have been ordered out of the U.S. They were allowed to stay in the U.S. under previous administrations.
But advocates have argued that the detainees — many of whom are Christians who fear being tortured or killed if deported to Iraq, which is majority Muslim — paid their debt to society and deserve to be with their families as their cases make their way through the system.