In Washington on Thursday, a federal judge threatened to hold U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session in contempt after the judge halted the deporting of a mother and her daughter who had been sent back to El Salvador in the middle of appealing their removal.
Judge Emmet Sullivan from U.S. District Court learned on Thursday that the two were being flown back to the Central American country after the American Civil Liberties Union had reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to delay the deportation of the two until 11:59 p.m., the next day.
The judge called the incident “pretty outrageous,” adding, “that someone who is seeking justice in a court in the U.S. is spirited away at the same time her attorneys are arguing justice for her.”
Reportedly, officials said the plane carrying the two was returning to the U.S. later on Thursday.
The woman, who is identified only by her court name as Carmen, is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU this week over the government’s effort to prevent people from seeking asylum because of gang and domestic violence in their countries.
The judge said that any delay in returning the two to the U.S. would not be tolerated and that Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen the Secretary of Homeland Security should argue in front of him as to why they should not be held in contempt, if they did not comply.
The Justice Department did not comment, but Homeland Security said that in compliance with the order from the court, upon arriving in El Salvador, both plaintiffs remained aboard the aircraft and promptly were returned to the U.S.
An ACLU managing attorney with the Immigrants’ Rights Project Jennifer Chang Newell said that the actions by the administration were putting immigrants in great danger.
In her statement, Chang Newell said that in a rush to deport the most immigrants it could, the White House administration is putting women and children into grave danger of being beaten, raped or killed. She concluded her statement by saying the group was thrilled a stay of removal had been issued but upset the government had deported two clients early on Thursday.