A federal appeals court issued an order Thursday barring the release of 34 Cuban refugees from an Atlanta prison.
It was the second day in a row that the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Justice Department and overturned U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob.
On Wednesday, the appeals court set aside Shoob's Oct. 15 order blocking the United States from deporting nearly 1,500 Cuban refugees held in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.
Earlier Wednesday, Shoob had ordered the "immediate" release of 34 Cubans who had already been approved for parole to halfway houses by a federal review panel.
The government successfully argued Thursday that the 34 Cubans would flee if released to avoid deportation.
"The government will now be able to take the initial steps for processing the first group of persons for return to Cuba," Deputy Atty. Gen. Carol E. Dinkins said. "It is anticipated that the first persons will be returned to Cuba in late February."
Dinkins said that the government "has long maintained that it is legally correct and wholly in the public interest to exclude from the United States those dangerous aliens who have no right to be here on a permanent basis."