WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court in a case involving asylum seekers’ rights.
Judge Emmett G. Sullivan was furious after learning that some plaintiffs might have been deported in defiance of his wishes. A woman and her child fled a violent husband in El Salvador and were seeking asylum in the U.S. The mother was taken from her detention facility and likely put on a plane Thursday morning, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The Justice Department had promised none of the plaintiffs would be deported before the judge could rule.
“Turn that plane around,” Sullivan ordered, He threatened to hold people in contempt of court, starting with the Attorney General, if the situation weren’t remedied.
“We are complying with the court’s requests, and upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs will not disembark and will be promptly returned to the United States,” a Department of Homeland Security official told CNN.
The lawsuit brought by the ACLU is challenging a recent decision by Sessions to make it nearly impossible for victims of domestic violence and gangs to qualify for asylum in the U.S. The lawsuit claims the woman and her young daughter came to the U.S. from El Salvador after “two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent gang.”