The Iraqis argue they could face torture or death if they are returned to their homeland.
They were detained in a nationwide sweep conducted after Iraq agreed to accept deportees in exchange for being removed from the Trump Administration’s revised travel ban.
The government says all the detainees have criminal convictions and had already been ordered to be deported.
But the American Civil Liberties Union argues that many of those detained in Michigan are Chaldean Christians and would be targeted by the Iraqi government.
The U.S. Justice Department counters that only an immigration court can decide the Iraqis’ fate, not the district court where the case was filed.
U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith is staying the deportations for at least two weeks while he considers whether his court has jurisdiction.