Families and friends protest metro Detroit ICE round up of Iraqi nationals

Posted at 11:15 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 23:22:35-04

Dozens of family, friends and supporters rallied at downtown Detroit's Patrick V. McNamara federal building, protesting the ICE roundup of 114 Iraqi nationals on June 10th.

"My father has been here for almost 30 years. This is my home. This is his home, and this is his country," said 22 year old Rita Ghanam.  Ghanam's father Sarmad Ghanam is one of the detainees now awaiting his fate in a prison cell in Youngstown, Ohio.

Ghanam says her father was taken from his home in front of her younger sister on Sunday.

"They're pulling him out and he said 'I just want to kiss my daughter. I might not see her again,' and they wouldn't even allow him to kiss her," said Ghanam.

In a statement Wednesday, Rebecca Adducci, Detroit field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal, said "The operation in this region was specifically conducted to address the very real public safety threat represented by the criminal aliens arrested."

Family members at Friday's rally are challenging that characterization of their loved ones, saying some of the criminal history ICE is referring to are minor marijuana offenses from more than a decade ago.

Following an ACLU lawsuit, a court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21st at 2pm.  Family members of those detained say the hearing is likely their loved one's last chance to make their case before a judge.