Law firm helps group threatened with deportation

Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer, & Weiss, a Michigan-based business law firm, jumped into action last week to provide pro bono legal services to 15 Southeast Michigan families with loved ones arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and sentenced with deportation back to Iraq.
“Southeast Michigan is home to a diverse community of longtime residents who have always gone above and beyond to take care of one another,” said Jaffe CEO William Sider. 

Snider said associate Justin Hanna, a member of the Chaldean community, “presented us with an immediate need to mobilize our immigration practice group.”

“With the volunteer assistance of 25 attorneys and paralegals from other specialties in the firm,” Sider said, “our team collectively provided support for those families in need of protecting their loved ones from life-threatening deportation.”

Earlier this month, 140-160 Iraqi nationals from the metropolitan Detroit area were arrested as a part of the Trump administration’s push to increase immigration enforcement. 

A number of these residents have lived in the U.S. for many years — some for their entire lives. 

Dozens of Iraqi Chaldean Catholics were among those targeted in the immigration sweeps, with the fear of death or torture if deported to their origin country due to their religious beliefs.

“One of the firm’s foundational pillars is engaging in and giving back to the local community,” Sider said. “We are leveraging our immigration and legal expertise to make every effort toward helping these families navigate the legal complexities of this unfortunate situation.”

Jaffe attorneys and paralegals prepared documents and interviewed family members whose relatives were being detained by ICE. 

Motions were filed for a stay of deportation, a reopening of the immigration cases of the affected individuals, and avoidance to deportation due to claims under the Convention Against Torture Act.  

After working through the night and into the early morning hours of June 15, Jaffe flew an attorney to Falls Church, Virginia, last to submit before the deportations were initiated, a portion of the motions to the Board of Immigration Appeals. 

The rest of the motions were filed in Detroit, Atlanta and Kansas City Immigration Courts later that day.

“We are extremely appreciative of the extraordinary efforts made by Jaffe in helping us with this demanding legal challenge,” said Nora Youkhana, board member of CODE Legal Aid, a local nonprofit helping those families affected by the incident.


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