Citing “extraordinary circumstances,” US District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction stopping an ICE effort to deport 114 Iraqi immigrants with criminal records whose deportation notices had been signed years ago.
The 90-day stoppage briefly ends a back-and-forth battle between ICE and the group of Iraqis, whose crimes range from marijuana possession to murder.
Goldsmith wrote that the constitutional rights of the Iraqis were being violated, stating, “the writ of habeas corpus — the fundamental guarantor of liberty — must not be suspended, unless in the rare case of foreign invasion or domestic rebellion.”
The “extraordinary circumstances” cited by attorneys of the Iraqis concern their religion — they are Christian Iraqis, known as Chaldean — and whether they will be targeted by extremists.
But the judge didn’t evaluate that claim in his ruling, instead citing the long period of time that had elapsed between their deportation notices were signed and the present, and describing their cases as “dormant.”
He also cited “transfers…separating them from their lawyers and their families and communities who can assist in those legal efforts.”
Some of the Iraqis have lived in the US most of their lives and said they will be unable to live in Iraq.