U.S. immigration law and policy is notoriously complicated and is characterized by frequent changes. Since President Trump took office in January 2017, there’s been an emphatic uptick in changes to immigration law and policy. It seems that every week brings another, if not several, changing developments to the U.S. immigration law landscape. At the immigration law firm of Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners, we painstakingly keep up with all these twists and turns in order to provide timely and knowledgeable legal services to our clients.
Here’s one of the latest, newsworthy events in U.S. immigration law:
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of multiple plaintiffs over efforts to keep immigrants from obtaining asylum due to domestic violence and gang violence in their home country. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was presiding over the case. The lawsuit was seeking to invalidate Attorney General Sessions’ June 11, 2018 decision in Matter of A-B-, which restricted the types of cases that would qualify an immigrant for asylum.
On Wednesday, August 9, 2018, head attorney for the ACLU, Jennifer Chang Newell, said at a Wednesday, August 9, 2018 hearing that the administration promised that no one would be deported until midnight on Thursday, August 10, 2018. However, during a recess during court on that Thursday, she received an email from attorneys on the ground in Texas that her client and two of the plaintiffs in the case, Carmen (a pseudonym) and her daughter, had been taken from their Texas detention center that morning and deported back to their home country of El Salvador. Newell then informed the government attorneys and Judge Sullivan what had happened.
Upon learning about Carmen and her daughter’s deportation, an irate Judge Sullivan said, “Oh, I want those people brought back forthwith. … I’m not asking, I’m ordering.” Judge Sullivan then threatened to hold Sessions in contempt of court if Carmen and her daughter were not returned to the U.S. Sullivan said in court, “This is pretty outrageous, that someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her.”
The Department of Homeland Security complied with the judge’s order. On Thursday, August 9, 2018, Carmen and her daughter’s plane landed in El Salvador but they did not disembark. But rather, DHS flew them back to the United States.