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U.S. judge halts deportation of 1,400 Iraqis

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that 1,400 Iraqi immigrants cannot be deported from the United States while courts are reviewing their asylum cases.

Many of the Iraqis are Christians who fear persecution, including 114 who were arrested in the Detroit area and accused by the Department of Justice of committing crimes in the United States, Al Jazeera reports. In his opinion, Judge Mark Goldsmith said he has jurisdiction in the case over the DOJ, and if the Iraqis are sent back they would be exposed to "substantiated risk of death, torture, or other grave persecution before their legal claims can be tested in a court."

While there are 1,400 Iraqis under deportation orders, most are not in custody, and some committed their crimes decades ago and were given permission to stay in the U.S. because Iraq would not issue them travel documents.