Written by Don Byrd

Via Religion Clause, in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of Iraqi religious and ethnic minorities detained in the U.S., a judge has ordered ICE to stop coercive tactics designed to pressure them into agreeing to deportation. The detainees are long-time residents in the U.S. who faced persecution in Iraq but were recently rounded up by the Trump Administration because they were eligible for deportation.

Bloomberg News reports:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began using threats and misinformation to try to convince the Iraqis who are being detained across the U.S. with limited access to lawyers that it’s a crime to say they wish to remain here with their families and continue their immigration fights in court, according to the ACLU.

“ICE officers are not allowed to communicate with them about their immigration cases, length of their detention, or prospect of removal to Iraq,” the judge said. “While detainees with final orders must cooperate with obtaining passports or travel documents, they cannot be required to state that they wish to return to Iraq.”

The ACLU explains that the plaintiffs are largely Chaldean Christians, Shiite Muslims, and Christian converts, which makes them particularly susceptible to persecution. According to the Complaint

Chaldean Christians…are widely recognized as targets of brutal persecution in Iraq. Indeed, the persecution is so extreme that over the last few years attorneys representing ICE in Michigan immigration courts have consented to the grant of protection to Chaldeans. Nonetheless, Chaldeans whose order of removal was entered years ago are now facing removal to Iraq as if nothing has changed, and without any inquiry into the dangers they would currently face.

You can read the Order here