US Judge orders return of deported family, threatens Sessions with contempt

US Judge orders return of deported family, threatens Sessions with contempt

US Judge orders return of deported family, threatens Sessions with contempt

A federal judge in Washington halted a deportation in progress Thursday and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt after learning that the Trump administration started to remove a woman and her daughter while a court hearing appealing their deportations was underway.

It all stems back to a mother, known in court filings as only "Carmen".

Under the fast-track removal system, created in 1996, asylum seekers are interviewed to determine whether they have a "credible fear" of returning home.

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. They had sought asylum in the US after claiming they feared for their life in their homeland.

"I'm not happy about this at all", the judge continued. "This is not acceptable".

Justice Department attorney Erez Reuveni said he had not been told the deportation was happening that morning, and could not confirm the whereabouts of Carmen and her daughter.

The lawsuit asks the judge to invalidate Sessions' June 11 decision to restrict the kinds of cases that qualify for asylum.

"He should be [held in contempt]", Schmidt said, responding to Tur's description of a judge's threat to hold Sessions in contempt over the deportation.

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According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Sullivan's order meant the taxpayer wound up paying for a needless round-trip flight.

According to the lawsuit, the migrant mother, known under the alias "Carmen", came to the USA 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. It argues the administration is wrongly rejecting asylum claims based on domestic abuse and gang violence.

"Despite asylum officers finding that their accounts were truthful, they. ultimately denied them asylum protection because they did not have a 'credible fear of persecution'".

The ACLU said they were told by government attorneys after the hearing that the woman and child were already on a flight to El Salvador, but would be sent back to Texas, where they had been detained.

Sessions and other Trump appointees have dramatically shifted how the federal government speaks about asylum, going as far as to suggest in public communications the unproven claim that asylum is a routinely abused legal loophole.

The ACLU represents 12 people in the suit, including three children, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who had entered the US and sought asylum, but were been denied in a preliminary interview used to establish a "credible fear" of returning home.

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 USA detention.

From there, Sessions has argued, asylum-seekers are typically released into the interior of the country while they await hearings, often years away.

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