The judge expressed outrage, ordering the plane be turned around, suggesting the government be held in contempt starting with the attorney general, and saying it was "unacceptable" that someone in pursuit of justice who has alleged a credible fear in a USA court is spirited away while her attorneys argue for her in court.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia ordered the government to temporarily stop future deportations of all witnesses in the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit against the federal government for revoking asylum criteria that includes people saying they are in danger of domestic or gang violence in their home country.
The ACLU, who represents Carmen and her daughter, explained that Carmen had been abused for years in El Salvador, noting she suffered "two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband and death threats from a violent gang".
Recently, Sessions changed the policy on allowing victims of domestic abuse and gang violence to qualify for asylum.More news: Men who wear boxers have a much higher sperm count, says study
In a shocking move, Judge Sullivan then ordered that the government "turn the plane around", and bring both Carmen and her child back to the United States immediately.
"I'm not happy about this at all", he continued. The government, he learned, had just deported an immigrant mother and daughter who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit the judge was hearing over family separations.
The order issued Thursday stated that the defendants, including Sessions, Nielsen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Lee Francis Cissna and Executive Office of Immigration Review Director James McHenry, "shall return "Carmen" and her daughter to the United States FORTHWITH".
"Upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs did not disembark and are now en route back to the United States", the department said in an emailed statement.
The Justice Department declined a request for comment, the Post reported. Other co-workers at her factory had been killed by the gang.More news: Magic Leap One is on sale now for a whopping $2,300
The ACLU lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala - eight women, one man and three children.
Asylum seekers previously had to show that the government in their native country was "unable or unwilling" to protect them.
But their case was halted when officers found they did not have a "credible fear of persecution".More news: Turkey on the Economic Brink, Explained in a Dozen Charts