Federal Appeals Court In Cincinnati Hears Iraqi Deportation Case

Apr 25, 2018

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is considering whether the federal government should be allowed to proceed with deporting hundreds of Detroit-area Iraqis.

The Trump administration says the detainees are a danger to the public and national security. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argues the individuals face persecution, torture and death if deported. The case could affect some 1,400 Iraqis nationwide.

As WDET public radio in Detroit reports:

Immigration officials took about 1,400 Iraqi nationals into custody last June, including 114 from Metro Detroit, saying they'd committed crimes and had already been ordered to be deported to their native home, which had finally agreed to accept them.

The ACLU objected, arguing most of those in custody had already served their sentences, and as Christians, face death or torture if returned to Iraq. According to Courthouse News Service, "Although many of those arrested were ordered removed to Iraq years ago, the government had allowed them to stay under orders of supervision, according to the lawsuit."

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith agreed with the ACLU, blocking the deportations until the Iraqis could have their case heard in immigration court.

Now, the federal government wants the Sixth Circuit to overturn the stay on the deportations. Attorneys Wednesday argued the Iraqis could have appealed the deportation decisions in immigration courts. The ACLU, however, counters that there wasn't time because immigration officials were already taking the individuals into custody.

The three-judge appellate panel hasn't indicated when it will issue a ruling in Hamama v. Adducci, according to the Associated Press.

Michigan Radio reported earlier this year on Usama Hamama, the man who is the "face" of this case.