Protesters rally in Dearborn for release of detained refugees

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Dearborn – Kate Stenvig said families of detained refugees are suffering and just when they thought they had a moment of hope, they continue to be fearful a war with Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't end soon.

BAMN organizer Kate Stenvig, marches with supporters towards Schaefer Road in Dearborn on Saturday to bring awareness for immigrant rights.

"This isn't something we can ignore...We need to keep fighting and keep the movement going to take action against ICE," said Stenvig, of Detroit, who joined a small group on Saturday in Hemlock Park for a rally to free Iraqi refugees and other immigrants detained by ICE.

The group gathered carrying flags of Iraq, signs that read "Honk to stop deportations," and marched down Schafer to Warren in Dearborn. BAMN Coalition to defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights sponsored the march.

About 250 detainees of 1,400 swept up in raids by ICE last summer remain in custody. Most of the detainees are being housed in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in June and was granted a preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith in July that halted deportation of the detainees until each has their case heard in court.

The government appealed. Immigration officials have said those targeted in the raids committed crimes since their time in the United States and have forfeited their right to remain in the country.

On Jan. 2, Goldsmith ruled that Iraqi nationals should be granted individual bond hearings and possibly freed while a judge determines if the individuals pose a danger or are flight risks. Since that ruling, Stenvig said they've heard many who have been released have been taken back into custody.

"We know many who have been released are victims of catch and release. Those refugees who have gone back after being released for their first check-in with ICE are being taken back into custody," Stenvig said.

David Douglass said the march was also sparked because many of the detainees were denied bond and those who were granted, their bonds were set at $100,000.

"We heard from families who thought they would be released on bond that they weren't being offered an opportunity and some who were up for review were denied bond," he said.

"Those in custody and those released are in real danger. Many are being sent back and many won't be given the chance to be released and we can't let that happen," said Douglass, who lives in Detroit.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_