DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government says it will appeal an order that suspended the deportation of 1,400 people to Iraq.

It's unclear why the Justice Department waited nearly two months after the injunction was signed by a Detroit federal judge. The appeal notice was filed Thursday.

In July, Judge Mark Goldsmith blocked the deportation of Iraqi nationals to give them time to challenge their removal in immigration court. Many are Christians who fear they'll be tortured or killed if sent to Iraq.

The government says the Iraqis have committed crimes in the U.S. and must be kicked out now that Iraq will accept them. Roughly 21 percent of the 1,400 are in custody at federal detention centers. Some are on hunger strikes.