At the start of July the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to stop the deportation of Iraqis convicted of crimes. This will affect around 1,400 Iraqis currently living in America. This is the result of a deal made between the government of Prime Minister Haidar Abadi and President Trump to keep Iraq off of the Muslim ban list.
Iraq got caught up in President Trump’s an anti-immigrant platform. Right after his inauguration Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from several Muslim countries including Iraq. The argument was that this would prevent terrorists from coming to America. This caught Iraq completely by surprise as it only found out that it was included in the ban from the media. Baghdad lobbied Washington and Premier Abadi was able to make a deal with the White House in 2017 where Iraq would be removed from the list and in return the U.S. government could arrest and deport Iraqis in the United States that had been arrested. Immediately afterward American immigration authorities began detaining hundreds of Iraqi immigrants. That also included Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Iraqi embassy officials pressuring Iraqis to sign voluntary deportation papers. Beforehand the Iraqi government had refused to accept any deportees.
While the arrest of Iraqis in America started in 2017 the cases have been in litigation since then. The Supreme Court’s decision to not hear their appeal means that the deportations could start soon.
The Abadi government took the inclusion of Iraq on the Muslim ban as an affront. The country was still fighting the Islamic State with U.S. troops on the ground when this happened. The premier made the decision it was more important to remove his country from the list and save face than protect Iraqis living in America.
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Moses, Paul, “ICE Is Bullying Iraqi Detainees Here To Sign On for ‘Voluntary Deportations,’ Says ACLU,” Daily Beast, 6/15/18
NINA, “The US Supreme Court settles the issue of the deportation of hundreds of Iraqis,” 7/2/20
Raghavan, Sudarsan, Loveluck, Louisa and Sieff, Kevin, “Trump’s order to ban refugees and immigrants triggers fears across the globe,” Washington Post, 1/26/17
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