Judge Threatens to Hold Jeff Sessions in Contempt for Deportation

Erika Holt
August 11, 2018

On learning that the mother and daughter at the center of a lawsuit before him were being deported, a federal judge called the move "outrageous" and ordered its reversal.

During today's hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, word came that the government had put a mother and her daughter who are plaintiffs in this case on a deportation flight to Central America - despite assurances in open court just yesterday that no plaintiff would be deported before midnight tonight.

When informed, the Bill Clinton-appointed Judge Sullivan became outraged.

"This is pretty outrageous that someone seeking justice in USA court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her", Sullivan said.

But lead ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell - taking part in the Washington court hearing via phone from her California office - got an email saying the mother and daughter were being deported, the paper reported.

In June, the Trump administration determined that fleeing domestic violence and gang violence would no longer be accepted as a means for refuge in the United States.

A district judge in Washington halted a deportation already in progress for an El Salvadoran mother, going by the pseudonym Carmen, and her daughter.

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According to the lawsuit, the migrant mother, known under the alias "Carmen", came to the United States 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.

During a brief recess, she told her colleagues the pair had been taken from a family detention center in Dilley, Texas, and were headed to the airport in San Antonio for an 8:15 a.m. flight.

The ACLU's lawsuit says Carmen and her daughter left their native El Salvador because they feared for their lives amid extortion attempts by gang members.

She sought police protection in 2016, but they did not protect her and Grace fled Guatemala, because she felt she wouldn't be safe in the country because of her partner and his sons' gang affiliation, according to the suit.

In June, Sessions vacated a 2016 Board of Immigration Appeals court case that granted asylum to an abused woman from El Salvador.

There are about 700,000 backlogged asylum cases crawling through federal courts, according to the DOJ.

But Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials, could face consequences for the government's handling of the case if the judge believes they did not fully comply with his orders.

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