Judge considers ordering bond hearings for Iraqi detainees in immigration case

Posted at 5:21 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 17:21:42-05

Hundreds of families are waiting to know whether their loved ones will remain locked up indefinitely.

Many were there as attorneys for almost 300 Iraqis detained nationwide asked a judge to order the government to give them bond hearings.

Judge Mark Goldsmith listened to attorneys for the government and the ACLU argue for hours. He said he would consider the arguments and write is decision later.

Outside court dozens of protesters gathered. Many were children who want to see their dads released. 

“He was the best dad I could ask for. It is hard to imagine him not being there,” said Lillyana Butris, age 12. 

Some were young children. Others were adults. 

Arkon Elia lives in Warren. He now is working to keep his dad’s business afloat, support his own wife and children, plus his mom and younger siblings. He is scared for his dad. 

“They are basically ripping my dad’s heart out of his chest if they send him back,” said Elia.

The ACLU asked the judge not to just release everyone, but to order the government to give the hundreds of Iraqis arrested around the country about 6 months ago a bond hearing. 

Many are facing deportation because at some point they committed a crime. Some are minor misdemeanors that happened decades ago. Others are more serious.

The ACLU says they shouldn’t all be locked up indefinitely.

“If the government is going to detain people it needs to detain them only if they are dangerous or a flight risk, and since these people are not dangerous or flight risks, they will be coming home,” said Margo Schlanger, Attorney for the ACLU of what she hopes happens.

The government argued that the detainees were set to be deported, but the ACLU took legal action that gave them a chance to fight for the chance to stay and that the ACLU can’t now complain that they are locked up. 

The judge could rule at any time.