Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

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

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

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.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan took the extraordinary step of holding two members of President Donald Trump's cabinet personally accountable for an immigration proceeding after Sullivan learned while a hearing in his court was underway Thursday that government officials put the mother and daughter on an airplane.

In his written order, District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan scolded Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ordered the government to "return Carmen and her daughter to the United States".

The dramatic hearing was part of a lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies filed on Tuesday, alleging the Trump administration was unfairly preventing thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Central America from seeking asylum in the US.

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Her asylum attempt appeared to have been thwarted by new rules introduced by the Trump administration in June, which block courts from granting asylum to victims of domestic abuse and gang violence.

The plaintiffs on the plane are identified in the lawsuit as Carmen and her minor daughter, although Carmen is a pseudonym, the network reported.

The suit also says asylum adjudicators are required to ignore federal appellate decisions that conflict with the new credible fear policies, "thus purporting to make the immigration authorities the ultimate arbiters of the law". The memo argues that only traditional interpretations of asylum eligibility, such as those persecuted by governments for their religion or politics, are valid and that recent innovations like granting asylum to people who face ordinary crime in their home countries will no longer be tolerated. By Thursday evening, the mother and her daughter had landed in El Salvador.

The ACLU said the government had on Wednesday assured the court that no plaintiff in the case would be deported before midnight on Thursday.

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"We are 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", ICE spokeswoman Justine Whelan told the Washington Post. Carmen also alleged her husband was abusive.

The lawsuit Carmen is involved in included 12 migrants total, three of whom are children.

Sessions has led efforts by the Trump Administration to crack down on illegal immigration, including the adoption of a zero tolerance policy that briefly included separating immigrant parents from their children while they were in US detention. The reforms are already working to reduce the previously skyrocketing number of illegal aliens claiming to be "asylum seekers" after being caught by Border Patrol, but they have sent the open-borders left into a rage.

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