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US judge halts deportation, threatens Sessions with contempt

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks on during a news conference next to the U.S. Mexico border wall to discuss immigration enforcement actions of the Trump Administration near San Diego, California

AP, Washington :
A federal judge on Thursday halted a deportation in progress and threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if the mother and daughter weren't returned to the U.S.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington learned in court that the two plaintiffs in a lawsuit before him were being removed from the United States and confirmed later that they were on a plane headed to Central America. He said any delay in bringing them back would be intolerable.
If they fail to comply, the judge said, Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other senior Homeland Security officials would have to convince him not to hold them in contempt of court.
The Department of Homeland Security was bringing the pair back to the United States on Thursday after the plane landed in El Salvador. The mother and daughter did not disembark in the Central American country.
"This is pretty outrageous," Sullivan said in court, according to The Washington Post. "That someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?"
"I'm not happy about this at all," the judge said, according to the Post. "This is not acceptable."
The woman - identified in court as Carmen - is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed this week against the administration by the American Civil Liberties Union over efforts to prevent immigrants from seeking asylum because of domestic and gang violence in their home countries. The lawsuit asks the judge to invalidate Sessions' June 11 decision to restrict the kinds of cases that qualify for asylum.
The judge imposed a halt Thursday on deporting Carmen, her daughter and six other plaintiffs. The Justice Department declined to comment on the judge's threat of contempt.
WASHINGTON, Aug 10, 2018 (BSS/AFP) - A Washington federal judge halted the deportation of a mother and daughter Thursday - but threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of court after removal proceedings began amid their appeal, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
The woman and her daughter were part of a group of immigrants who had fled "extreme sexual and gang violence" in Central America, according to the ACLU.
The rights group and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies filed a lawsuit on their behalf Tuesday to challenge the deportation, which prompted a hearing held Thursday.
The ACLU said the judge blocked the deportation while the case was pending.  But, "while in court, we found out that the government had deported a client and her young child just hours before, putting their lives at risk," the group said in a series of tweets.
"This directly contradicts the government's commitment to the court that NO ONE would be removed until tomorrow at the earliest."
The organization added that the judge ordered the government to "turn the plane around" or face potential contempt proceedings, "starting with the attorney general."
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, quoted by the Washington Post, branded the situation "outrageous."
"That someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?" he said.

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