Detroit judge grants immigrants 2 more weeks’ stay

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Detained Iraqi immigrants will be allowed to stay in the country for at least another two weeks after a federal judge Thursday extended a stay that blocks their deportation nationally.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in Detroit granted the two-week extension to at least July 24 of his temporary restraining order, stating that the court has yet to determine if it has jurisdiction. The stay was set to expire Monday.

“In light of the complexity of the issue involved and the time necessary to prepare an opinion — along with the essentially unchanged facts relative to the equitable factors that were taken into account — the court is faced with the same circumstances that were extant when the stays were entered,” Goldsmith wrote. “Furthermore, the pendency of other emergency matters on the court’s docket have made it difficult to issue an opinion on jurisdiction — another circumstance establishing good cause.”

Saying there was “good cause” to extend the stay, Goldsmith said: “The court orders that the stay of removal for all members of the class, both original members and those added by way of the expanded definition, shall now expire on July 24, 2017 at 11:59 p.m., unless otherwise ordered by the court.”

Goldsmith’s decision comes one day after lawyers for the immigrants requested an extension. He previously expanded a stay of Metro Detroit Iraqi immigrants into a national, two-week ban on deportations.

There are an estimated 1,400 Iraqi immigrants in the United States with final orders of removal, including 114 detainees from Metro Detroit being held at a detention center in Youngstown, Ohio. Advocates have said the distance makes it difficult for attorneys and family to communicate with detainees.

An early June raid in which federal immigration agents arrested more than 100 local Iraqi Christians in Metro Detroit prompted an outcry from Chaldean community leaders who said the detainees could face persecution for their religion if sent back to their home country.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said the arrests of Iraqi nationals was part of an effort to process a backlog of individuals with criminal convictions.

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