The order issued Thursday stated that the defendants, including Sessions, Nielsen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Lee Francis Cissna and Executive Office of Immigration Review Director James McHenry, "shall return "Carmen" and her daughter to the United States FORTHWITH". The judge commanded the government to escort the two back at once.
The Trump administration's immigration policies are drawing more fire with this week's lawsuit filed by the ACLU, challenging a move by Attorney General Sessions to deny asylum to those fleeing domestic and gang violence.
Carmen is a pseudonym for the woman who, along with her daughter, was seeking asylum because of domestic abuse in El Salvador.
The litigation known as Grace v. Sessions, debates that policies framed against American and global laws that concede gender specific oppression as premise for asylum and they instinctually preserve the process is supposed to provide.
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So the judge did something highly unusual: He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States.
The mother and daughter are said to have arrived back in Texas, where they were being held, by Thursday night.
'It's outrageous, ' Sullivan said.
Four of the ACLU plaintiffs had already been deported, Chang Newell said, and the Salvadoran woman, known as Carmen, and her daughter were at imminent risk of being deported this week.
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.
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The suit also says asylum adjudicators are required to ignore federal appellate decisions that conflict with the new credible fear policies, "thus purporting to make the immigration authorities the ultimate arbiters of the law".
"We also have dirty immigration lawyers who are encouraging their otherwise unlawfully present clients to make false claims of asylum, providing them with the magic words needed to trigger the credible fear process", Sessions said a year ago. "That someone seeking justice in US court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?"
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the deportation case when reached by The Hill. The immigrants were deported ahead of a scheduled hearing with the court on Thursday.
Asylum seekers previously had to show that the government in their native country was "unable or unwilling" to protect them.
Others say they fled violent drug gangs who killed their relatives and, in one case, took over their homes.
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The lawsuit, known as Grace v. Sessions, argues that the policies cut against American and worldwide laws that recognize gender-based persecution as grounds for asylum and that they gut the protections the process is supposed to offer. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had been assured the pair would not be deported to El Salvador before midnight Thursday.