ACLU calls for all Iraqi's at risk of deportation to be granted stay

A federal judge issued a two-week stay for more than 100 local Chaldeans, but now the ACLU wants that ruling to include all Iraqi's under deportation orders nationwide.

"The stay that exists now prevents deportation of Iraqi nationals living in Michigan. It does not prevent the deportation of individuals in other states," said Michael Steinberg of the ACLU.

But an emergency hearing Monday morning in federal court could change that.

U.S District Judge Mark Goldsmith is considering expanding a recent 14-day stay on deportations of Metro Detroit Iraqi immigrants into a nationwide stay.

"We're asking for due process from ICE. We're asking for ICE to hold off deporting anybody who has not had a fair chance to have a meaningful hearing at a meaningful time," said attorney Margo Schlanger.

Just last week, Goldsmith granted temporary protection to 114 Iraqi immigrants from Metro Detroit..

Their families say they are grateful because it allows them more time to stay in the U.S. and pursue their cases. 

"I'm hoping that immigration will hear his case," said Nahrain Hamama, whose husband is facing deportation. "It was a mistake done 30 years ago and it was a road rage. He paid his debt to society. We need him home."

In court Monday, the government argued the judge does not have jurisdiction in this case.

"The government is coming up with hyper-technical argument when there are people's lives at stake," Steinberg said.

But activists say there is a sense of urgency because if the stay is not expanded some Iraqis could be deported as early as Tuesday.

"The government is planning to send individuals who are in grave danger of persecution, torture or death back to Iraq. They know that and they're in a rush to send them back and we're saying what's the rush?" Steinberg said.

Many believe if the immigrants are sent back to Iraq they could be killed.

"It violates federal and international law to send individuals back to Iraq to be tortured, persecuted or killed and all we're asking is for time," Steinberg said.