WASHINGTON D.C. (News4Utah)- Last week, a Washington D.C. federal judge halted a deportation in progress.
It was like a TV drama…only it was real.
ACLU lawyers were in a federal courtroom when they got word that a mother and her daughter had been deported to El Salvador from Texas.
Gabriela Melendez says the mother and daughter were part of a lawsuit by the ACLU to stop deportations of asylum seekers like them.
“We had actually asked for a stay on any deportations while we go through the court,” she said.
When the federal judge found out about the deportation he ordered the plane carrying the mother and child to turn back. While the plane didn’t actually turn around in mid-air, hours later, the mother and daughter were back in the U.S.
Melendez says the woman was in the U.S. seeking asylum, but us Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently changed the rules, declaring that domestic and criminal gang violence would no longer be legal grounds for asylum.
Melendez says Thursday’s ruling was a small victory for the ACLU. She says she hopes it sends a stern warning to Attorney General Sessions and the Trump administration.
But just hours after the dramatic courtroom showdown, Attorney General Sessions stood firm.
“Some people have decided to take us to court, we are fighting that resolutely and we plan to win,” he said.
Melendez says at least for now, the mother and her child and others who seek asylum can remain in the U.S. until a final ruling in the case.