A federal judge in Detroit has ruled that he has the jurisdiction to temporarily halt the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqis from the U.S.
The judge says the Iraqis should have time to contest the removal orders.
The federal government argued that the Iraqis should be deported because most have been convicted of crimes and still pose a threat.
Federal officials say many of the Iraqis had already been ordered to be deported.
But U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith writes that circumstances in Iraq have changed since the original deportation orders were put in place.
He says the Iraqis involved, most of whom he says are Christian, face an increased chance of torture or death from forces in their native homeland, especially the so-called Islamic State.
The judge contends that without issuing a stay the Iraqis could be deported immediately, denying them adequate time to prepare and make their case before an immigration court.
Goldsmith is continuing to stay the deportations for two weeks while he determines the next steps forward.