Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child turned around, blocks more removals

Angered that an immigrant mother and her daughter who are plaintiffs in a lawsuit had been deported, a federal judge demanded the administration turn the plane carrying them around and stop removing people from the country who are seeking protection from gangs and domestic violence.

The court ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. According to a statement by the ACLU, while U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan was hearing arguments in the case, the court learned that the Trump administration had put a mother and a daughter who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit on a flight to Central America.

Sullivan, who had been assured by the government in open court that no plaintiffs in the suit would be deported before midnight Friday, ordered the plane turned around, the ACLU said.

The ACLU lawsuit had challenged a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to exclude domestic and gang violence as reasons for immigrants to be granted asylum. The ACLU sought a stay of removal for its plaintiffs.

According to the ACLU, Sullivan had "suggested" government officials, including the Attorney General, be held in contempt for the deportation of the two plaintiffs and said their deportation was "unacceptable".

"In its rush to deport as many immigrants as possible, the Trump administration is putting these women and children in grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed," said Jennifer Chang Newell, managing attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project and the attorney who argued the ACLU case.

"We are thrilled the stay of removal was issued but sickened that the government deported two of our clients — a mom and her little girl — in the early morning hours. We will not rest until our clients are returned to safety," she said.