WASHINGTON (CNS) — A federal judge Aug. 9 ordered the immediate return to the U.S. of two Salvadoran asylum seekers, a mother and her daughter, who were unexpectedly deported from Texas to their native country.
The ruling came as the court considered their case challenging a Trump administration policy that blocks foreign nationals expressing fear of gang violence or domestic abuse from seeking asylum.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan threatened U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions with contempt of court if the mother and daughter, whom the government had already put on a plane, were not returned. Though the flight they were on touched down in El Salvador, “in compliance with the court’s order, upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and were promptly returned to the United States,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late Aug. 9.
The woman and her daughter are part of about a dozen plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging what they say is the “gutting of asylum protections for immigrants fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality.”
Grace vs. Sessions, filed in federal court in Washington Aug. 7, challenges what the ACLU says are “new expedited removal” policies by Sessions that direct asylum officers to “generally” deny asylum claims based on fear of violence by gangs or domestic abuse.
In a June 11 decision, Sessions said fear of gang violence and domestic abuse in another country were not grounds for seeking asylum.
“The asylum statute does not provide redress for all misfortune,” Sessions’ decision said.
The woman who was returned with her daughter to Texas late on the same day they were deported said she feared gang violence and domestic abuse if she returned to El Salvador. In the lawsuit, the ACLU said the woman, identified as Carmen, made claims that she was abused by her husband, which included rape, for years. She also said she faced extortion by gangs in El Salvador.
The Washington Post reported Aug. 9 that when the judge heard the pair involved in the case had been deported, he said: “This is pretty outrageous, that someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?”
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103