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12 August 2018, 05:29 | Devin Moran
Judge orders government to turn around deportation plane
A federal judge has halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if the mother and daughter aren't returned to the U.S.
The woman, identified only as Carmen, and her daughter had been scheduled to be deported, but the government agreed to postpone their removal until Thursday night so an appeal of the decision could be heard in court, the Washington Post reported. "This is not acceptable".
President Donald Trump and top officials have criticized existing protections for asylum-seekers, arguing they allow too many people to stay in the US under the claim they suffer persecution at home.
In addition to ordering the government to get the mother and daughter back, Sullivan 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.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, which implements deportations, did not respond to questions about why the Carmen and her daughter were removed from the country.
A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
"We also have dirty immigration lawyers who are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum, providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible fear process", Sessionssaid previous year. The ACLU asked the judge to pause the deportation process and order the government to keep all the plaintiffs in the United States while the court considered the lawsuit. Even after Carmen moved away from her husband, he raped her, stalked her and threatened to kill her, the lawsuit states. The board found that the woman was a member of a particular social group eligible for asylum - in this case, married women in Guatemala who could not leave their relationship.
The ACLU lawsuit, Grace v. Sessions, was filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C. The suit contends the new policies clash with protections created by Congress that establish an initial "credible fear" interview for asylum seekers. The immigrants were deported ahead of a scheduled hearing with the court on Thursday.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department made it more hard for immigrants claiming to be victims of domestic or gang violence to get asylum. The Department of Homeland Security was bringing the pair back to the United States on Thursday after the plane landed in El Salvador. None of the adults had been separated from their children as part of President Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy. That set in motion a sequence of events that led to their deportation and quick return to the South Texas facility where they've been held since June.
Judge Emmet Sullivan hit the roof on Thursday after learning that the Trump administration deported them as the American Civil Liberties Union was asking him for an emergency injunction while they argued against the asylum denial. But now they have to show that the government "condones" the violence or "is completely helpless" to protect them, the lawsuit says.
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