Judge Halts Deportation, Warns Jeff Sessions

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Sullivan called the deportation "outrageous" and questioned why "someone seeking justice in USA court". would be "spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?"

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan blocked a deportation on Thursday when he discovered that a mother and daughter were in the process of being removed from the U.S., despite the fact that a court hearing to appeal the deportation orders had been set.

"In compliance with the court's order, upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and were promptly returned to the United States", a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official said Thursday evening, the paper reported.

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

The lawsuit challenges Attorney General Jeff Sessions decision to exclude domestic and gang violence as reasons for immigrants to be granted asylum.

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.

"I'm not happy about this at all, " the judge said, according to the Post.

Despite Sullivan's "turn the plane around" remark, there is no indication the government tried to deport Carmen and her daughter a minute earlier than they agreed.

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"In its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, the Trump administration is putting these women and children in grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed", said Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the attorney who argued the ACLU case.

Carmen is a pseudonym for the woman who, along with her daughter, was seeking asylum because of domestic abuse in El Salvador.

"Upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are now en route back to the United States", the department said in an emailed statement.

Otherwise, the attorney general argued, protected "social groups" include only people who share a 'common immutable [unalterable] characteristic'.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the judge's threat of contempt.

A Homeland Security Department official later told The Wall Street Journal that hours later the mother-daughter duo were on American soil again.

The ACLU lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala - three of them children - all of whom failed their initial "credible fear" interviews.

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