Judge blocks administration from deporting asylum seekers: threatens Jeff Sessions with contempt of court

Judge blocks administration from deporting asylum seekers: threatens Jeff Sessions with contempt of court

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WASHINGTON(TIP): A federal judge on Thursday, August 9, erupted at the Trump administration when he learned that two asylum seekers fighting deportation were at that moment being deported and on a plane to El Salvador, a CNN report says.

DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan then 
blocked the administration from deporting the two plaintiffs while they 
are fighting for their right to stay in the US — reportedly excoriating 
the administration and threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and The Washington Post.

The government raced to comply with the 
court’s order, and by Thursday evening the immigrants had arrived back 
in Texas after being turned around on the ground in El Salvador.

They asked for asylum. Instead, they say they were sent to a prison and treated like criminals

They asked for asylum. Instead, they say they were sent to a prison and treated like criminals

Sullivan agreed with the ACLU that the 
immigrants they are representing in a federal lawsuit should not be 
deported while their cases are pending.

The emergency hearing in the case turned
 dramatic when attorneys discovered partway through the hearing that two
 of their clients were on a plane to El Salvador.

During court, Sullivan was incensed at 
the report that one of the plaintiffs was in the process of being 
deported, according to the ACLU and The Washington Post. Sullivan 
demanded to know why he shouldn’t hold Sessions in contempt, according 
to the Post and the recollection of lead ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang 

Chang Newell said the administration had
 pledged Wednesday that no one in the case would be deported until at 
least midnight at the end of Thursday. But during a recess in the 
proceedings Thursday, she got an email from attorneys on the ground in 
Texas that her client, known by the pseudonym Carmen, and Carmen’s 
daughter had been taken from their detention center that morning and 
deported. After investigating during recess, she informed government 
attorneys and Sullivan what had happened.

“He said something like, ‘I’m going to 
issue an order to show cause why I shouldn’t hold the government in 
contempt, I’m going to start with the attorney general,’ ” Chang Newell 
said, explaining that Sullivan was suggesting he would issue an order 
that would require the government to explain why they didn’t deserve to 
be held in contempt. Such an order has yet to be issued by the court.

He ordered the plane turned around or the clients brought back immediately, the ACLU said.

“This is pretty outrageous,” Sullivan 
said, according to the Post. “That someone seeking justice in US court 
is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?”

“I’m not happy about this at all,” he continued, adding it was “not acceptable.”

The lawsuit was brought by immigrants 
only referred to by their pseudonyms in court: Grace, Mina, Gina, Mona, 
Maria, Carmen and her daughter J.A.C.F. and Gio.

After the hearing, Sullivan issued an 
emergency order halting the deportation of any of the immigrants as he 
considers whether he has broader authority in the case.

Sullivan also ordered that if the two 
being deported were not returned, Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary 
Kirstjen Nielsen, Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee 
Francis Cissna and Executive Office for Immigration Review Director 
James McHenry would have to appear in court and say why they should not 
be held in contempt.

The lawsuit brought by the ACLU is 
challenging a recent decision by Sessions to make it nearly impossible 
for victims of domestic violence and gangs to qualify for asylum in the 
US. That decision was followed by implementation guidance from the 
Department of Homeland Security that almost immediately began turning 
away potentially thousands of asylum seekers at the southern border.

According to their lawsuit, Carmen and 
her young daughter came to the US from El Salvador after “two decades of
 horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent 
gang.” Even after Carmen moved away from her husband, he raped her, 
stalked her and threatened to kill her, the lawsuit states. Further, a 
gang held her at gunpoint in May and demanded she pay a monthly “tax” or
 they would kill her and her daughter. Carmen knew of people killed by 
their husbands after going to police and by this gang and thus fled to 
the US.


But at the border, the government 
determined after interviewing her that she did not meet the “credible 
fear” threshold required to pursue an asylum claim in the US, and an 
immigration judge upheld that decision.

The ACLU is using Carmen’s story and the similar experiences of the other immigrants to challenge Sessions’ ruling on asylum.


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