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U.S. Judge Halts Deportation Of Iraqis Detained During Immigration Sweep

A federal judge in Michigan has indefinitely halted the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals detained in immigration sweeps throughout the United States last month.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith on July 24 granted a preliminary injunction requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for the Iraqis, many of whom are Christians.

The ACLU contended that the immigrants would face persecution in Iraq because they are considered ethnic and religious minorities in the conflict-torn Middle East country.

The injunction will allow the Iraqis to stay in the United States while they challenge their deportations in immigration courts based on the risks they face in their home country.

About 230 of the Iraqis are being held in custody, while the remaining 1,200 are not currently locked up.

In his 34-page opinion, Goldsmith said the extra time assures "that those who might be subjected to grave harm and possible death are not cast out of this country before having their day in court."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters