Groups challenge continued US detention of Iraqi nationals

DETROIT (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and others are seeking the release of hundreds of people whose deportations to Iraq were suspended but who remain in custody.

The advocacy groups and attorneys representing Iraqi nationals allege in a Tuesday court filing that the government is detaining people without determining whether it’s justified.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said Wednesday that the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

In July, a federal judge in Detroit blocked the deportation of 1,400 people to allow time to challenge their removal in immigration court. The government appealed.

Government officials say the detainees have committed crimes in the U.S. and must be deported now that Iraq will accept them. Roughly 21 percent of the 1,400 are in detention centers.

Many are Christians who fear being tortured or killed if deported.

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