The ACLU represents 12 people in the suit, including three children, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who had entered the US and sought asylum, but were been denied in a preliminary interview used to establish a "credible fear" of returning home.
'Upon arrival in El Salvador, the plaintiffs didn't disembark and are now en route back to the United States.' the official said while they were in mid-air.
So the judge did something highly unusual: He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States. The ACLU lead attorney, Jennifer Chang Newell, received email during the hearing that alerted her to the active deportation of the pair. I'm not happy about this at all. The deported mother and daughter were en route back to the US later Thursday.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the judge's threat of contempt. The immigrants were deported ahead of a scheduled hearing with the court on Thursday.
The fast-track removal system, created in 1996, has asylum-seekers interviewed to determine if they have a "credible fear" of returning to their home countries, the paper said, adding that those who pass get a full hearing in immigration court.
There are about 700,000 backlogged asylum cases crawling through federal courts, according to the DOJ.
The ACLU is asking the court to invalidate a decision by Sessions that says most victims of domestic abuse and gang violence can not qualify for asylum.
In changing the standards for seeking asylum, Sessions said in June that 'the mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes, such as domestic violence or gang violence, or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, can not itself establish an asylum claim'.
The lawsuit seeks a stay of removal for immigrants who, the ACLU argues, could face "grave danger of being raped, beaten, or killed" in their home countries if they are forced to return to them.
Two of the children and their mothers were deported before the suit was filed; the rest were being detained in Texas and NY.
None of the adults had been separated from their children as part of President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy.
Judge Sullivan had strong words for Sessions when he found out about this, and even threatened to hold him in contempt of court. The reforms are already working to reduce the previously skyrocketing number of illegal aliens claiming to be "asylum seekers" after being caught by Border Patrol, but they have sent the open-borders left into a rage.
The judge said it was unacceptable they had been removed during their appeal.