Trump Administration Can’t Deport 1,400 Iraqi Nationals Who Fear Persecution, Torture, or Death … For Now.

A federal judge in Michigan last night extended a lifeline to more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals across the United States, stopping their immediate removal to Iraq, where they fear near-certain persecution, torture, or death.

Judge Mark Goldsmith granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request to block the imminent deportation of any Iraqi national in the United States with a final removal order. In doing so, the judge weighed the irreparable harm faced by the detainees versus the government’s desire to deport them as quickly as possible.

He found that:

“Each Petitioner faces the risk of torture or death on the basis of residence in America and publicized criminal records; many will also face persecution as a result of a particular religious affiliation. While cost and efficiency in administering the immigration system are not illegitimate governmental concerns, such interests pale to the point of evaporation when weighed against the potential lethal harm Petitioners may suffer.”

Since June, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested over 230 Iraqi nationals with final orders of removal and transported these men and women to detention centers all over the country. Although all of the Iraqi nationals arrested in June had received a removal order, some dating as far back as 20 years, the government had not elected to deport them — both for humanitarian reasons and due to the Iraqi government’s resistance to repatriating individuals from the United States. In March, however, the Trump administration made a deal with Iraq: In exchange for removing it from the list of banned countries under President Trump’s Muslim Ban executive order, Iraq would begin accepting deportees from the United States.

The mass arrests were a direct result of this deal. Of the men and women arrested, more than 100 were living in Michigan. Although most are Chaldean Christians, Kurdish and Sunni Muslims have also been targeted. In a rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, ICE failed to consider that Iraqi nationals who have spent years living in the United States face a serious risk of persecution and violence if returned to Iraq.

Deporting people to a country where they are likely to face violent persecution is not only immoral. It is against United States and international law.

Just four days after the mass arrests in Michigan, the ACLU and its partners rushed into federal court seeking a restraining order to delay any deportations to Iraq. Since then, the court issued two temporary stays while it reviewed the case, with the judge noting that the “significant chance of loss of life and lesser forms of persecution” faced by the plaintiffs, “far outweighs any conceivable interest the Government might have in the immediate enforcement of the removal orders.”

Deporting people to a country where they are likely to face violent persecution is not only immoral. It is against United States and international law.

While both the stays and the injunction are victories, they do not end the ordeal for the 1,400 men and women, and their loved ones. Because of the injunction, each detainee will now have a 90-day stay from the time the government provides two key immigration records needed to reopen their cases: their “Alien Files” and “Recording of Proceedings.” Both these records are generally only available through a Freedom of Information Act request, a process that can often take over five months.

Recognizing the burden this put on detainees, the injunction rightly makes the government accountable for furnishing the documents which are in its possession. Judge Goldsmith’s order provides time for detainees to find lawyers, for the lawyers to start gathering documents and seeking protection for their clients, and for the immigration judges and boards to consider each detainee’s case before they are removed to a dangerous situation.

But ICE has not made it easy. Since the beginning of June, ICE has been transferring detainees from one detention location to the next, often some several hundred miles away. This makes it extremely difficult for lawyers to get the information and documents they need to provide meaningful representation.

According to information provided by ICE, of 221 detainees that we obtained information on, only 47 of them are held in the same location as the immigration court where their case will be heard. The process for seeking review in immigration court is time-consuming, and the burden is greatly exacerbated when attorneys are out of state or do not have access to their clients’ immigration files.

Families should not be torn apart and lives lost because of ICE stall tactics.

No one should be removed from the United States to face persecution and violence without a day in court. We will continue to gather information on each Iraqi national detained and work to connect them to an immigration attorney. At the center of Trump’s mass deportation machine are people like Sam Hamama, a Chaldean Christian who has lived in the United States for more than 40 years and has four children who are American citizens. Families should not be torn apart and lives lost because of ICE stall tactics.

It is crucial that every detainee who wants to seek relief in the immigration system has a meaningful opportunity to do so. The U.S. has a long history of protecting vulnerable populations seeking refuge in this country. We must live up to that tradition now.

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Anonymous

What a great day for the ACLU
Keep working hard you have seen what hard work produces.
Nice day good day
I love the ACLU

Anonymous

What a great day for the ACLU
Keep working hard you have seen what hard work produces.
Nice day good day
I love the ACLU

MiserableOldFart

So the orange thing was breaking international law AGAIN? Literally unsurprised.

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Anonymous

Why do so many liberals praise a religion that, at its root, is quite conservative, if not fundamentalist? Why do they defend a faith that would not defend them? Worse still, why do they defend a faith that, in some cases, would do violence to them?

Last week, Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and a New York Times best-selling author on radical Islam, was invited to speak at the University of Buffalo. But he was unable to say much because of the vocal opposition. He was shouted down and reviled, especially when attempting to read Islamic texts describing Islamic beliefs.

To paraphrase, “Not on our campus! We are progressive. We are liberal. We are enlightened. You will not bring your hate-filled bigotry here!”

In Spencer’s own words, “I spoke a few sentences and made a couple of points in between being screamed at by leftist and Islamic supremacist fascists who think they’re opposing fascism.”

Did you catch that? Spencer was opposed by staunch liberals and staunch Muslims. What an odd couple they make, yet this has happened time and again in the recent past. Why?

A few years ago, I read about a pro-Hamas, anti-Israel rally led by feminists and LGBT activists, among others on the left. Why in the world would groups like this support Hamas, which would kill or imprison them for their beliefs (and their sexual or romantic proclivities)? And why would they oppose Israel, which would welcome them with open arms? (I’m not talking about religious Jews, who would certainly not welcome them. I’m talking about the population as a whole, which is quite “progressive.” Note also that it wasn’t the ultra-Orthodox Jews who were fighting Hamas, so the rally was not targeting them.)

This makes no sense, unless there is something deeper that unites these groups (such as anti-Israel animus) or a serious deception they are buying into (such as the idea that true Islam is always a religion of peace and tolerance; in John Zmirak’s words, they are Islam’s “useful idiots”).

And why is it that the most liberal political leaders in the West are often the strongest defenders of Islam? Why are they constantly telling us that real Islam is neither radical nor violent?

Getting back to Robert Spencer (not to be confused with the alt-right leader Richard Spencer), he has “led seminars on Islam and jihad for the FBI, the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), the Justice Department’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council and the U.S. intelligence community. He has discussed jihad, Islam, and terrorism at a workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the German Foreign Ministry. He is a consultant with the Center for Security Policy and vice president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.

“Spencer has appeared on the BBC, ABC News, CNN, Fox News’ ‘O’Reilly Factor,’ Megyn Kelly’s ‘The Kelly File,’ the Sean Hannity show,” among many, many others, which would lead one to believe that he was highly qualified to give an address on campus.

Not today. His allegedly bigoted views about a beautiful religion were not welcome. He is in violation of the progressive PC code, which includes, “Thou shalt not insult Islam.”

The University of Buffalo’s student newspaper reported, “Spencer planned to speak to students about ‘the dangers of jihad in today’s world’ but constant heckling from the crowd made it near impossible for him to complete a full sentence.”

Ah, the blissful beauty of tolerance! How mellifluous are its melodies. How sweet its sounds. Hardly.

Spencer wrote, “These students have been hoodwinked into thinking that ‘Islamophobes,’ rather than jihad terrorists, are killing people around the world.”

Yes, those are the really dangerous enemies, those “Islamophobes,” not those jihadi terrorists. And the enemies are not the Islamists who enforce a death penalty for “apostasy” (meaning, leaving Islam). The enemies are the ones who call this barbarism out.

Spencer noted the biting irony of it all: “For example, one man held a sign that read ‘Queers Against Islamophobia.’ The crowd booed lustily when I attempted to read from Islamic authorities about Islam’s death penalty for homosexuality. Even to read from Islamic sources is hate, apparently, at the University at Buffalo – unless, of course, one endorses such penalties rather than oppose them.”

Yes, these days, if you expose something murderous or hateful, you are guilty of a worse sin – the sin of judging. And on campuses these days, there is hardly a worse sin you could commit.

I once spotted a comment responding to a YouTube video posted by a 12-year-old boy who opposed same-sex marriage, based on the Bible. The comment read: “You, just like everyone who is against gay marriage, is a mentally retarded bigot. No exceptions. Now go to hell.”

This is the voice of tolerance, the same voice that drowned out Spencer in Buffalo. And how interesting that “tolerance” reviles a 12-year-old boy who does not support same-sex “marriage” but then defends Islam that calls for a death-penalty for homosexual practice. How interesting that “tolerance” wants to silence Christians who peacefully oppose homosexual activism as well as silence those who draw attention to Islam’s violent opposition to homosexuality. What a laughable contradiction.

But this is no laughing matter. As Spencer noted, “By shutting down any discussion of the motivating ideology of the jihad threat and consigning it all to the realm of ‘hatred’ and ‘bigotry,’ the student mob at the University of Buffalo enables that threat to grow. One day, the leftists who screamed, heckled, and booed as I tried to speak may very well experience the consequences of their actions, carried out by those with whom they thought they stood in solidarity.”

Yes, let that mob try pulling off the same stunt in strict Islamic countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or in places like the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, and let’s see how far they get. In fact, let’s see how far they get carrying a sign saying, “Queers Against Islamophobia.”

The left needs to end its naïve love affair with Islam. And may peace-loving Muslims help lead the way in working against radical Islam.

Robin Schnell

Thank you for sending in lawyers and giving these Iraqis hope and assistance. Contrary to some ignorant, misguided folks, they have been doing their best to live a law-abiding life after having paid for their crimes. We should not make them pay with their lives for past mistakes.

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