Carrie Dedrick

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a group of 114 Iraqis living in Detroit from deportation. The Guardian reports most of these Iraqis are Chaldean Christians, but had been subject to deportation orders for pending criminal charges or overstaying visas.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) recently arrested the 114 Iraqis in a series of raids. But attorneys challenged the deportation orders, arguing that the group would be persecuted or face death if returned to Iraq.

Judge Mark Goldsmith’s move places deportation on hold for two weeks. At the end of that period, he will make a new ruling concerning the Iraqis.

The hold occurs after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action lawsuit against the Ice field office. The ACLU says that many of the Iraqis have lived in the US for decades, some since they were children. They have built lives in the country, and “now face imminent removal to Iraq, and the very real probability of persecution, torture or death.”

ACLU attorneys are asking that the deportation orders be blocked until those arrested can be assured safety in their home country.