Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child to turn around


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. 

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Glen Mills

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...