Washington -- President Donald Trump has nominated an Oakland County judge and the first Chaldean American to fill a vacancy on the federal bench in Western Michigan.
Trump tapped Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hala Jarbou, a former federal prosecutor, to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, the White House said.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Jarbou would be the first Chaldean American to sit on the federal bench nationwide, said Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean Community Foundation in Sterling Heights.
"Judge Jarbou has been a public servant for more than 20 years and brings the highest level of integrity to the bench," Manna said.
"She also has the utmost respect from her peers. The federal appointment is the first-ever for the Chaldean community, and we couldn't be more proud."
Jarbou's nomination comes after the Trump administration has upset members of the Chaldean community in recent years by working to deport hundreds of the Iraqi Christians to Iraq -- despite claims from their families and attorneys that they will be targeted there by terrorists.
While visiting Warren in January, Trump said he would grant relief to Iraqi Christians facing deportation; however, it remains unclear who would be eligible to remain in the United States.
Immigration officials' efforts to deport the Iraqis has continued since Trump's remarks, according to lawyers.
Vice President Mike Pence met in late February with the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce ahead of a Troy rally to discuss possible relief from deportations for some Iraqi nationals.
Jarbou of West Bloomfield has served on the county bench since 2015 when she was appointed by former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican.
Since 2011, she has been a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which has worked with the Trump administration to identify conservative judicial nominees.
Jarbou recently presided over a case related to the green ooze that came out of the ground near Interstate 696 in December and has since kept a lane shut.
Jarbou previously was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan for five years. With that office, she prosecuted cases involving drug and firearms offenses, child pornography, and high-level drug trafficking, according to the White House.
Earlier in her career, she was an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office from 1997 to 2010, where she handled general felony offenses, homicides, child sexual assault and high-profile felony cases.
Jarbou graduated with a bachelor's in business administration from the University of Michigan and got her law degree from Wayne State University Law School.
Jarbou would fill a Western District seat that has been vacant for three years. Judge Robert Holmes Bell in Grand Rapids retired in early 2017.
Her nomination to the Western District follows the withdrawal of Michigan attorney Michael Bogren from consideration for the post last year after Republican senators objected to his record.