Court hearing today in Detroit for 114 Iraqi immigrants arrested in Michigan by ICE

Niraj Warikoo , Detroit Free Press
Published 12:11 p.m. ET June 21, 2017 | Updated 53 minutes ago

A court hearing is set for today in U.S. District Court in Detroit for the 114 Iraqi immigrants with criminal records arrested by federal immigration agents this month.

The 2 p.m. hearing in front of U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith stems from a lawsuit filed by attorneys on behalf of Iraqi nationals in Michigan who were arrested June 11.

They are immigrants from Iraq, but had criminal records that makes them subject to deportation, said U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). But attorneys say that many of the immigrants are Christian and would face persecution in if deported to Iraq, where they are a targeted minority.

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A protest in support of the Iraqi immigrants is to be held before the court hearing.

"If the court rules in favor of our complaint, everyone will be able to stay at least temporarily," said Southfield attorney Clarence Dass, who represents 15 of the Iraqis, many of whom are currently being held at an immigration detention center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Buy PhotoProtesters rally outside the U.S. District Court in Detroit before a court hearing on June 21, 2017, for the 114 Iraqi immigrants with criminal records arrested by federal immigration agents this month. (Photo: Perry A. Farrell/Detroit Free Press)

"Our hope is that after today's hearing, each and every one of these individuals will have a chance to be heard -- to present their case that sending them back to Iraq could result in a death sentence, a penalty far worse than any sentence they already received."

In addition to the 114 Iraqi nationals arrested in Michigan, 85 Iraqis outside Michigan were also recently arrested by ICE.

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Contact Niraj Warikoo: or 313-223-4792. Follow him on Twitter @nwarikoo