U.S. judge turns plane around, halts deportation

U.S. judge turns plane around, halts deportation

The Justice Department and attorneys agreed to delay the court proceedings for the mother-daughter pair until later that night, but despite the decision, an attorney on the case received word that Carmen and her daughter were already at an airport ready to be deported.

"Carmen and her daughter are right now somewhere in the air between Texas and El Salvador", ACLU lead attorney in the case Jennifer Chang Newell told NBC.

It was a dramatic illustration of the Trump administration's zeal for deportations running up against an increasing number of court challenges against its immigration policies.

Upon hearing the news, Sullivan ordered their flight returned and suggested that Sessions could be held in contempt of court, according to the ACLU.

An official from the Department of Homeland Security said in an emailed statement that the agency is "complying with the court's order, and upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are now en route back to the United States". That decision was followed by implementation guidance from the Department of Homeland Security that nearly immediately began turning away potentially thousands of asylum seekers at the southern border.

The plane landed in El Salvador, but Carmen and her child were allowed to return to the United States.

The Justice Department declined a request for comment, the Post reported.

But their case was halted when officers found they did not have a "credible fear of persecution". The immigrants were deported ahead of a scheduled hearing with the court on Thursday.

Mr Sessions introduced tighter immigration rules in June and victims of domestic abuse and gang violence no longer generally qualify for U.S. asylum. The case is part of an ongoing legal battle over asylum claims.

He also ordered the government to stop removing people from the country who are seeking protection from gang and domestic violence.

The lawsuit seeks a stay of removal for immigrants who, the ACLU argues, could face "grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed" in their home countries if they are forced to return to them.

The open-borders attorneys had an agreement with the DOJ in the law they filed to hold off deporting the failed asylum seekers until after Thursday's hearing in Washington.

From there, Sessions has argued, asylum-seekers are typically released into the interior of the country while they await hearings, often years away. But now they have to show that the government "condones" the violence or "is completely helpless" to protect them, the lawsuit says.

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