A federal judge in Detroit is issuing a preliminary injunction halting the deportation of Iraqi nationals from the U.S.
The judge says the likelihood that the Iraqis could face torture or death if they are sent home outweighs the government’s need to quickly deport them.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith is extending a previous temporary ban on the deportations.
The federal government argued the Iraqis had overstayed visas or been convicted of crimes and pose a danger to the public.
But the judge counters that Iraq has grown increasingly dangerous for the prospective deportees, many of them Christians, and they have the right to express those concerns in court and through other official channels.
Goldsmith writes that the government has moved many of the Iraqis hundreds of miles or more away from where they were arrested, hindering their ability to effectively retain counsel.
He’s giving the Iraqis 90 days to file motions to reopen their case.
The order could affect more than 1,400 Iraqis nationwide.