Judge says families ‘shattered,’ wants Iraqi detainees freed

November 20, 2018 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to release about 100 Iraqi nationals who are under deportation orders but have been in custody for more than six months.

It’s the latest ruling from Judge Mark Goldsmith in a dispute that began in 2017 when the government began rounding up Iraqis living in the U.S. with criminal records. Some have been locked up for more than a year while the American Civil Liberties Union fights on their behalf.

Goldsmith said Tuesday that “families have been shattered.” He says Iraq has told the Trump administration that it only will accept people who are willing to leave the U.S.

The judge says “public interest overwhelmingly favors freedom over mass detention.” The immigration agency didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.