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Federal judge orders release or bond hearings for detained Iraq immigrants

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Tuesday that the Trump administration must release or conduct bond hearings for 1,444 detained Iraqi immigrants.

In a followup to his July nationwide stay [JURIST report] protecting the detainees from deportation, US District Judge Mark Goldsmith held that unless the government can show that a detainee poses an unreasonable risk of flight or danger to the community, they should be allowed to return to their productive life while the legal process unfolds.

Continuing to detain the individuals throughout the trial and appeal process represents indefinite detention, and thus a violation of the Fifth Amendment's due process clause. Siding with the detainees' request for bond hearings, Goldsmith reasoned: "[The American] legal tradition rejects warehousing human beings while their legal rights are being determined, without an opportunity to persuade a judge that the norm of monitored freedom should be followed."

The individuals facing deportation include both Muslims and Christians from Iraq, who have been in the US for decades and had been allowed to stay because the Iraq government would not issue [Reuters report] them travel documents. That changed in March when Iraq began to allow deportees in exchange [NPR report] for President Donald Trump [official profile] removing Iraq from the list of banned countries.

In the July stay of the government's attempt to deport the detainees, Goldsmith stated "the substantiated risk of death, torture or other grave persecution" to the detainees outweighs Congress' authority to bar federal district courts from jurisdiction over "the kind of habeas claims that Petitioners assert here challenging their repatriation to Iraq."

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