Trump’s family separation atrocity has been getting much-deserved public attention, but the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are still doing other horrible things to immigrants — including deporting abuse victims seeking asylum.
Sessions recently changed U.S. policy to deny asylum to women and girls fleeing domestic violence, a despicable policy that is being challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of 12 migrants.
But on Wednesday, the judge handling the case learned that two of the plaintiffs, a woman named in the suit as “Carmen” and her minor daughter, had been deported while the case was still being argued, and threatened to hold Sessions in contempt:
“This is pretty outrageous,” said U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan after being told about the removal. “That someone seeking justice in U.S. court is spirited away while her attorneys are arguing for justice for her?”
“I’m not happy about this at all,” the judge continued. “This is not acceptable.”
The Justice Department had previously agreed to delay Carmen’s removal until the case could be heard, but the ACLU learned that the woman and her daughter were taken to the airport to be removed Wednesday morning. Judge Sullivan ordered the Trump administration to turn the plane around.
The ACLU blasted the Trump administration over the removal as well. “This disregard for commitments made to the court and the life or death circumstances that these immigrant women and children are facing is beyond unacceptable,” the organization wrote in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
According to the lawsuit, Carmen “fled her home in El Salvador to escape two decades of horrific sexual abuse by her husband,” as well as death threats from a violent gang.
“Carmen’s husband routinely raped, stalked, and threatened her with death, treating her as his property, even after they were living apart,” the suit says. After she left her husband, the local gang tried to extort her for money at gunpoint, and threatened to kill her daughter if she did not comply.
Other plaintiffs in the suit report fleeing similar horrors, only to be denied asylum by Sessions’ cruel policy. A woman named Grace reports that she and her daughter were repeatedly sexually assaulted by her husband, and her daughter was beaten so severely that she had a miscarriage, yet Grace was denied asylum as well.
Trump’s immigration policies continue to cause incalculable suffering.