Judge Stops Deportation of Mother and Child, Threatens to Hold Sessions in Contempt

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia halted the deportation in progress of a mother and daughter this week, and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt due to the fact that court proceedings appealing their deportation were in progress. An attorney for the ACLU, which filed a lawsuit on August 7, 2018 challenging the Department of Justice’s recent policy change that aims to fast track the removal of asylum seekers who do not pass their credible fear interviews, and eliminates gang and domestic violence as grounds for seeking asylum in the US, received a notice in the middle of a hearing on the case before Judge Sullivan that the mother and daughter were on a deportation flight to El Salvador.

After the judge was notified of the deportations of the mother and daughter, who are plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit, he ordered them returned to the US immediately, and also delayed the deportations of all other plaintiffs in the case until the lawsuit is concluded. The ACLU lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 individuals, including 3 children, from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala; all 12 plaintiffs had failed their credible fear interviews. Two mothers and their children were deported before the lawsuit was filed. The complaint alleges that Sessions’ policy change seeks to implement an “unlawful screening standard” and denies asylum seekers of their rights under federal law.

Additional Reading

Judge halts mother-daughter deportation, threatens to hold Sessions in contempt, The Washington Post, August 9, 2018

Complaint filed August 7, 2018 in Grace v. Sessions

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