ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The attorney for an Iraqi man facing deportation says his client is taking sanctuary at an Albuquerque church.
Kadhim Al-Bumohammed, an Albuquerque resident who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years was ordered to report for deportation Thursday.
Hundreds gathered outside to rally, but Al-Bumohammed decided to not appear.
His attorney announced he is seeking sanctuary.
“His choices are motivated in part because he has lost faith in the inability of our government to protect him, especially in detention and given his very fragile health conditions,” he said.
Right now his attorney is not saying which church he is seeking sanctuary at, but they say they have informed ICE officials as required by law.
On Tuesday, a judge in Michigan halted the deportation of about 1,400 Iraqis who have been convicted of crimes in the U.S., some decades ago. An ACLU lawsuit is also asking for time to allow those under deportation orders to prove why they need to stay.
The injunction is in place until the July 24.
This all comes after Iraq began accepting deportees from the U.S, which means Al-Bumohammad could be held in the U.S. at least until then.
The ACLU of New Mexico says that’s unnecessary because he poses no threat to his community and is in bad health.
“It is up to us to make that society, to make this country, a place where people like Kadhim can be with their family,” said Micah McCoy with the ACLU.
Al-Bumohammad has two misdemeanor offenses on his record.
Thursday, his daughter Courtney addressed the crowd of supporters.
“To even think that I’m going to lose him, it’s not something I ever thought I’d think of. I’m glad that he made this very difficult decision to stay.”