Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt

Judge orders government to turn around deportation plane

Sullivan also ordered that if the two being deported were not returned, Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Francis Cissna and Executive Office for Immigration Review Director James McHenry would have to appear in court and say why they should not be held in contempt.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said in court that the government must "turn the plane around", The Washington Post reported. They had sought asylum in the USA after claiming they feared for their life in their homeland.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sullivan's order meant the taxpayer wound up paying for a needless round-trip flight.

The ACLU said its client, identified only as Carmen, was raped by her husband for two decades and faced death threats from a violent gang. When court was in recess in the middle of the hearing, however, an attorney with the ACLU-which is representing them in a lawsuit-received an email notification that Carmen and her child had been taken from the detention center where they had been kept, and were being deported.

A DHS official told NPR on Friday, "In compliance with the court's order, upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and were promptly returned to the United States".

The ACLU was arguing their case in court and believed the Trump administration had agreed to keep them in the US until midnight tonight. It challenges a recent policy change by the Department of Justice that aims to expedite the removal of asylum seekers who fail to prove their cases and excludes domestic and gang violence as justifications for granting asylum in the United States. The deported mother and daughter were en route back to the US later Thursday.

The lawsuit brought by the ACLU is challenging a recent decision by Sessions to make it almost impossible for victims of domestic violence and gangs to qualify for asylum in the US.

The judge imposed a halt Thursday on deporting Carmen, her daughter and six other plaintiffs. Some of Carmen's friends and co-workers have already been murdered, the ACLU claims.

Under the fast-track removal system, created in 1996 under President Bill Clinton, asylum seekers are interviewed by an asylum officer to determine whether they have a "credible fear" of returning home.

Neither is a "credible fear of persecution". It argues the administration is wrongly rejecting asylum claims based on domestic abuse and gang violence.

The mother and child had been held at the Dilley South Texas Family Residential Center.

During the hearing, the judge ordered a temporary stay on deporting the nine women and three children who filed the lawsuit, according to a court filing.

Sessions" unexpected announcement negated a comparatively more vague 2014 Board of Immigration Appeals ruling that married women in developing countries "who are unable to leave their relationship" can be considered a "particular social group' for asylum purposes.

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