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US Judge Halts Deportation, Threatens Sessions with Contempt
12 August 2018, 04:02 | Darnell Patrick
Judge Orders Plane Carrying Deported Mother And Child Turned Around
In a shocking move, Judge Sullivan then ordered that the government "turn the plane around", and bring both Carmen and her child back to the United States immediately.
An official from the Department of Homeland Security said in an emailed statement that the agency is "complying with the court's order, and upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are now en route back to the United States".
A DHS official said in a statement that the department is "complying with the court's order, and upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs will not disembark and will be promptly returned to the United States".
The case is Grace v. Sessions, 1:18-cv-01853, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
"I'm not happy about this at all", Sullivan said. "This is not acceptable".
The American Civil Liberties Union is disputing the change and filed a lawsuit on behalf of the mother, called Carmen in court papers.
Her asylum attempt appeared to have been thwarted by new rules introduced by the Trump administrationin June, which block courts from granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence.
Law&Crime reached out to the Justice Department for comment, but they have yet to respond.
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DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan then blocked the administration from deporting the two plaintiffs while they are fighting for their right to stay in the United States - reportedly excoriating the administration and threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt.
The judge said it was unacceptable they had been removed during their appeal.
But while in court arguing that deportation of their plaintiffs should be delayed, ACLU attorneys learned on Thursday that Carmen and her daughter were already in the process of being deported.
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.
According to their lawsuit, Carmen and her young daughter came to the U.S. from El Salvador after "two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent gang". As part of that decision, Sessions said gang and domestic violence in most cases would no longer be grounds for receiving asylum.
The ACLU represents 12 people in the suit, including three children, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who had entered the USA and sought asylum, but were been denied in a preliminary interview used to establish a "credible fear" of returning home.
"The new policies unlawfully elevate the credible fear standard far above the low threshold Congress enacted and prevent asylum seekers from ever pursuing their asylum claims", the suit says.
The mother and child had been held at the Dilley South Texas Family Residential Center. It challenges a recent tightening on standards for seeking US asylum, which makes it far more hard for those fleeing domestic or gang violence to win the right to remain in the United States.
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