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US judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction requested by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Flaf of Iraq.

DETROIT – A federal judge in Michigan on Monday halted the deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals detained during immigration sweeps across the United States last month, the latest legal victory for the detainees in a closely watched case.

US District Judge Mark Goldsmith granted a preliminary injunction requested by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued the immigrants would face persecution in Iraq because they are considered ethnic and religious minorities there.

Goldsmith said the injunction provides detainees time to challenge their removal in federal courts. He said many of them faced “a feverish search for legal assistance” after their deportation orders were unexpectedly resurrected by the US government after several years.

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,” Goldsmith wrote in his 34-page opinion and order.

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