A district judge in Washington halted a deportation already in progress for an El Salvadoran mother, going by the pseudonym Carmen, and her daughter. They had sought asylum in the U.S. after claiming they feared for their life in their homeland. When Judge Emmet Sullivan, who was holding an emergency hearing Thursday, learned that immigration authorities had already put Carmen and her daughter on a plane back to El Salvador, he ordered they return her "forthwith."
"This is pretty outrageous that someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her," Sullivan said. "I'm not happy about this at all."
The judge told them to "turn the plane around" if necessary.
They reportedly did just that. The plane landed in El Salvador, but Carmen and her daughter "never got off" and were flown back to the U.S., according to NBC News.
Judge halts a deportation in progress and orders a plane carrying deported mother and child turned around. He also suggested Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be held in contempt for the deportation. pic.twitter.com/Lwqo9fim1e— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 10, 2018
Sullivan said he would hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Homeland Security officials in contempt for the deportation if they did not comply with his demand.
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. Neither is a “credible fear of persecution.”
The ACLU, who represents Carmen and her daughter, explained that Carmen had been abused for years in El Salvador, noting she suffered "two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent gang." The group excoriated the administration for the new policy.
What happened to Carmen embodies exactly why the stay is necessary: This administration has shown time and time again that in its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, they will flout the law and callously put the most vulnerable people’s lives in danger.