Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Judge halts deportation, threatens Sessions with contempt - 8/9/2018 4:40:48 PM

Judge halts deportation, threatens Sessions with contempt - 8/9/2018 4:40:48 PM

A federal judge on Thursday ordered an immigrant mother and daughter brought back to the United States after learning during a court hearing that the government had put them on a deportation flight to El Salvador.

Justice Department attorney Erez Rueveni told the judge that he wasn't aware of the impending deportation, and couldn't immediately confirm the location of Carmen and her daughter.

"I'm not happy about this at all", he said. "This is not acceptable". According to the Washington Post, the judge has threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt.

All this as the administration targets legal immigrants, and the First Lady's parents gained US citizenship under a plan President Trump wants to end.

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

Sullivan said any delay in bringing them back would be intolerable and that Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen should argue why they shouldn't be held in contempt of court if they failed to comply.

Carmen and her daughter were not separated when they crossed the border, but their chances of remaining in the USA were slim after she failed a "credible fear" test created to determine whether her asylum claim could be honored. "We will not rest until our clients are returned to safety".

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Law&Crime reached out to the Justice Department for comment, but they have yet to respond.

Both Gina and Mona have had their asylum claims rejected, and the ACLU said the explanation has to be Mr. Sessions' new policy.

According to the lawsuit, the migrant mother, known under the alias "Carmen", came to the U.S. with her young daughter after two decades of sexual abuse from her husband and death threats from a local gang in her native El Salvador. Some of Carmen's coworkers had already been murdered and her husband was abusive.

When they arrived in the United States in June, they were detained and were set to be deported after failing to clear an initial screening by an asylum officer, known as a credible fear interview. Those who pass get a full hearing in immigration court. 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.

Paul Schmidt, who served as the agency's acting General Counsel during the early and mid 1980s, told NBC's Katy Tur on Friday that Sessions should be held in contempt of court over the case of a migrant family that was deported despite their asylum proceedings still ongoing.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department made it more hard for immigrants claiming to be victims of domestic or gang violence to get asylum. Sullivan's eventual order had nothing to with the prior agreement between DOJ and the ACLU and imposed a blanket ban on deporting the two until the ACLU's lawsuit against Sessions runs its course. None of the adults had been separated from their children as part of President Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy. The American Civil Liberties Union is disputing the change and filed a lawsuit on behalf of the mother, called Carmen in court papers. But that process can take years, and few of the asylum-seekers show up to be deported if they lost their cases.

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