CINCINNATI — The case of Hamama v. Adducci was closed on Tuesday by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals here, a ruling which could place hundreds of Iraqi Christians at risk for deportation after they lost their chance to continue fighting their cases in court, the website Christianity Today reported.
The class-action lawsuit was originally filed in June 2017 by the ACLU on behalf of 1,400 Iraqi natives, including more than 100 Detroit-area Chaldean Christians who were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and told they would be repatriated to their home country.
After raids were conducted two years ago, an injunction was granted to protect the detainees, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, and to let them present their cases in court.
But last December a Sixth Circuit panel overturned the protections and further arguments were declined this week, allowing the government to resume deportations, Michigan Radio said.
The ACLU had argued that sending Christians back to war-torn Iraq would put them at risk of torture or death. Iraq now ranks number seven on Open Doors’s list of countries most dangerous for Christians.
Such claims of imminent danger have persuaded U.S. and Iraqi governments for decades to allow Iraqi Christians to stay in the U.S. Metro Detroit contains between 120,000 and 150,000 Chaldean Americans, and half of the 200 detentions have been from the Detroit area.
Last November, U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that the detainees could be held indefinitely while the government waited for permission to deport them. Those held longer than six months were released on bond and allowed to file for hearings in front of an immigration court, Christianity Today said.
But Tuesday’s decision also overturned this provision, giving just seven more days to file for immigration hearings. The Detroit News reported that some Iraqi Americans who remain in detention may face deportation as early as April 9.