'Turn the Plane Around': Government Wrongfully Deports Asylum Seekers

The ACLU and the Trump administration squared off in court on Thursday over Jeff Sessions’ new policy that denies asylum protections to immigrants fleeing domestic violence and gang violence. The hearing focused on whether U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan would issue an emergency order to block the deportation of our plaintiffs, many of whom are women and children fleeing extreme sexual and gang violence, while the case proceeds. 

As the judge deliberated the stay, disturbing news came to light: Early Thursday morning the government had pulled two of our clients—a mother and her young daughter—out of their detention rooms and put them on a deportation flight back to El Salvador. This directly violated government promises in open court the previous day that no one in the case would be removed before 11:59 p.m. Thursday night.  

Judge Sullivan was outraged, saying “it was unacceptable” that someone who had alleged a credible fear and was “seeking justice in a U.S. court” would be “spirited away” while her attorneys were literally arguing on her behalf.

He ordered the government to “turn the plane around.” Further, the judge suggested that if the situation was not fixed, he would hold contempt proceedings for those responsible—starting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Our clients on that deportation flight, Carmen* and her daughter, fled El Salvador to escape two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent gang. Carmen was repeatedly raped, stalked, and threatened with death by her abusive husband, even when they were living apart. In June 2018, she and her daughter escaped, seeking asylum in the United States. Despite asylum officers finding that their accounts were truthful, they were ultimately denied them asylum protection because they did not have a “credible fear of persecution.”

This disconnect is the direct result of new policies issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that wrongly instruct asylum officers to deny whole categories of asylum claims, specifically gutting protections for immigrants fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality.

Sessions has now characterized these types of persecution as insufficient to invoke asylum protections, despite decades of settled domestic and international law which recognize gender-based persecution as a basis for asylum. Federal courts have also recognized asylum claims in a variety of circumstances involving gang brutality.

The ACLU and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the new policies. At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Judge Sullivan issued the stay, temporarily blocking the deportation of any of the plaintiffs while the case proceeds.

What happened to Carmen embodies exactly why the stay is necessary: This administration has shown time and time again that in its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, they will flout the law and callously put the most vulnerable people’s lives in danger.

*To protect the safety of the plaintiffs, names are pseudonyms.

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ED

Can u file a lawsuit against the gop for witholding and redacting documents from the dems regarding the nomination of Kavanaugh for supreme court? Gop is violating the intent and spirit of the Presidential Records Act.

Glenn

Give me a break. The Dems already have more records on Kavanaugh than on anyone else, this is only a game of trying to stop this nomination. The Dems and liberals are worried they are going to have to stop ripping unborn babies out of young women and calling that women's health.

Anonymous

Did they seek asylum in Mexico or any other country they cross? Do you know if her husband is coming after her in America ? What about the safety of Americans citizens/children if her husband comes? What about the American taxpayers who have foot the bill for her and her children? When does the American taxpayers get a break from paying for them? Does she have money for her and children to help them for 6 months or more or is she going to be on welfare/food stamps on the taxpayers expense? Can I sue her and other illegals aliens for there care?

Anonymous

I'll consider those questions carefully the next time your kid comes knocking at my door because she's being stalked by some creepo in the street.

Glenn

Listen I can understand the ACLU fighting for Civil Rights for American Citizens. I can understand the ACLU fighting for unpopular ideas of AMERICAN CITIZENS, but this B.S. for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS is ridiculous. The people from the left have totally and completely lost any common sense it takes to actually think out a reasonable idea anymore. I would love to know just why Hispanics are given free passes to this Country while other immigrants have to wait in line, pay their way and do the right thing. What is it, other than they are cheap labor for Republicans and "going to vote Democratic" in the future for liberals that we are really selling this Country down the tubes. The absolute stupidity of what is going on at the Southern Border in America and the over the line crazy with the far left in the Dem Party is a dangerous mix for distruction of this Country. This Country has always had great legal immigrants come in this Country and help build this into the great Country it is, unfortunately it has also had a sad, sad history of illegal immigrants who had gotten into this Country and done major distruction, like Italians (I am 50% Italian) who created the MOB, the Cubans who came in under Carter and helped created the coke problem that created massive deaths in Florida and the huge Coke drug line and now we are have a huge problem with illegals coming into America causing crime, bring in drugs and using our public services and paying little if no taxes. It is time for politics to stop and common sense to come back into this Country.

Bert

Most of what you wrote is pure fabrication, political talking points from the Right, white nativist bullshit, and silliness. Try again.

Anonymous

Well, based on your lack of understanding of the English language, as well as basic geography, I’m going to ask whether you’re “American” or not. I live in the United States of America, Mexico and every other country on this continent, and South America, belong to, “America”. I am willing to bet you wouldn’t be able to pass a citizenship test.

Anonymous

It is time for the US to show compassion and responsibility to its own citizens first. At present our own laws are limited in scope and offer little protections to victims of violent crime . We have poor sleeping in the streets, veterans who are homeless, mentally ill without psychiatric care and a large portion of our population without insurance or access to healthcare. Yet instead of fighting for these Americans the ACLU and the courts are more concerned with catering to migrants who could have sought safe shelter in several countries they journeyed through on their way to the US. These are the reasons many of us perceive that Our own government whom we financially support no longer represents us. Take care of Americans first when that’s accomplished we can then focus on saving the world.

Anonymous

To some of the respondents here ... So, your argument is that U.S. citizens "living in the streets" are more important than someone's life lost violently because we turn them away?? Why is there a choice to be made at all about which we take care of? Is there an argument that we cannot take care of BOTH and ALL of these people? Why is it that a "Christian country", as we like to think of ourselves, would "pick straws"? How would Jesus reply to your questions??? He'd say "love thy neighbor", without qualifications. Do you live up to that challenge?

Anonymous

And what compassion has the US shown to anyone? Sorry but Corporations are not citizens. They are corporations

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