In a federal courtroom in Washington on Thursday, a federal judge heard about something the Trump administration had just done: deported an immigrant mother and daughter who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit the judge was hearing over family separations.
So the judge did something highly usual, NBC News reported. He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States. And he ordered the government to stop removing people from the country who are seeking protection from gang and domestic violence.
The U.S. district judge, Emmet Sullivan, was presiding over a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. He had earlier been assured by the government in open court that no plaintiffs in the suit would be deported before midnight Friday.
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The ACLU lawsuit had challenged a decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to exclude domestic and gang violence as reasons for immigrants to be granted asylum. The ACLU sought a stay of removal for its plaintiffs.