Thursday, July 13, 2017

Court Bars Removal of Iraqi Christians and Shiites Until They Get Judicial Hearing

In Hamama v. Adducci, (ED MI, July 11, 2017), a Michigan federal district court issued an injunction barring the enforcement of removal orders against 1,444 Iraqis-- mostly Chaldean, but also other Christians and Shiite Muslims-- until they are given a judicial hearing on their claims that they are entitled to relief from removal because of their status as persecuted religious minorities in Iraq. The injunction extends a temporary suspension of their removal granted by the court last month. (See prior posting.)

While a federal statute-- 8 USC Sec. 1252(g)-- removes federal district court jurisdiction to hear any claim on behalf of an alien arising from action by the Attorney General to execute a removal order against the alien, the court held that enforcing that provision here would be an unconstitutional suspension of the right to habeas corpus. The court said in part:
The mechanism provided by the REAL ID Act for judicial review of removal orders — filing motions to reopen proceedings in immigration courts and subsequent review in the courts of appeals — does not take into account the compelling confluence of grave, real-world circumstances present in our case. This makes relegation to the immigration courts, without a stay from this court in place, an alternative that is neither adequate nor effective.
Without a stay in place, deportations will begin immediately, which may mean a death sentence for some deportees.... Beginning in August 2014, ISIS began carrying out large-scale killings.... Religious minorities were particularly vulnerable to these atrocities, with Christians being given the horrific choice to “pay a protection tax, convert to Islam, or be killed.”... 
While death is certainly the most egregious outcome deportees face, other persecution would also compromise their ability to pursue their removal challenges from foreign shores.... ISIS routinely commits arbitrary executions, torture, and sexual enslavement against religious minorities and those affiliated with the United States....
Detroit Free Press reports on the decision.