Judge denies bid to halt Iraqi detainee case
A federal judge in Detroit denied the government’s request to halt an Iraqi deportation case involving more than 100 Iraqi detainees until a ruling on an appeals is issued.
The government had argued that allowing the case tocontinue "would be a waste of government and judicial resources," according to court documents.
The court had issued a preliminary injunction in July 2017 to allow detainees to remain in the country; a second injunction was issued in January, holding that those "subject to prolonged detention are entitled to a bond hearing ... unless the government proffered individualized evidence that a detainee should not receive a hearing."
Miriam Aukerman, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said the decision released Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith allows lawyers to move forward in their bid seeking the release of detainee's "who have been wrongly held from their families for more than a year."
"This is another form of family separation," Aukerman said. "(Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is locking people up while they’re fighting their immigration case. We've been fighting that they can't warehouse human beings without good reason and today, the judge said we can continue to fight that."
The order is the latest development a class-action lawsuit the ACLU filed in June 2017 to halt federal immigration officials from deporting more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals swept up in raids by ICE last summer. More than 100 detainees were from Metro Detroit.
Detentions began in June 2017. Goldsmith in January said he "needed more facts on whether the detainees should be released or not," Aukerman said. About 130 detainees remain in custody.
In June, Goldsmith ordered the government to permit ACLU lawyers access to detainees, provide proper notice on when detainees need counsel and not to threaten detainees.
"We're more than a year in and these detainees are still at the beginning of the process in their individual cases ... at this rate it'll be years," said Aukerman. "It's an insidious, long-term punishment on them to be locked up from their family, not able to see sunlight, not knowing what their future is and who face a terrible fate in Iraq.
We are challeging that and we're not going to sit by and watch the incredibly damaging detention continue."
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls said they would not be commenting on the order.