U.S. judge turns plane around, halts deportation

U.S. judge turns plane around, halts deportation

"The level of disrespect for the judiciary, the unprofessionalism of the Justice Department attorneys and the just plain stupidity of the litigation strategy under Jeff Sessions is just simply stunning".

A furious federal judge threatened Thursday to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt after learning that a mother and daughter seeking asylum had been deported and were on a plane to El Salvador.

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.

"This is pretty outrageous", Sullivan told USA attorneys, according to The Washington Post.

Homeland Security's "credible fear" policy instructs authorities to deny asylum to immigrants fleeing domestic abuse and gang violence.

So the judge did something highly unusual: He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States.

Carmen also is a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit filed this week challenging a recent Justice Department policy change that aims to speed up removal of asylum-seekers who fail to prove their cases, the paper said, and that domestic and gang violence aren't reasons for getting asylum.

"I'm not happy about this at all", Sullivan said.

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U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan also blocked the Trump administration from deporting eight other immigrants - now held in detention - who are part of the same lawsuit against the government for allegedly wrongfully rejecting their claims for asylum.

"Upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are now en route back to the United States", the department said in an emailed statement.

The woman had fled to the U.S.to get away from an abusive husband.

A Homeland Security Department official later told The Wall Street Journal that hours later the mother-daughter duo were on American soil again.

The Justice Department declined a request for comment.

"He said something like, 'I'm going to issue an order to show cause why I shouldn't hold the government in contempt, I'm going to start with the attorney general, ' " Chang Newell said, explaining that Sullivan was suggesting he would issue an order that would require the government to explain why they didn't deserve to be held in contempt.

The lawsuit seeks a stay of removal for immigrants who, the ACLU argues, could face "grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed" in their home countries if they are forced to return to them.

The Trump administration's position is that many asylum-seekers are gaming the system by exaggerating their fear of returning home.

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