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WASHINGTON DC (CBSMiami) – A federal judge threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if a mother and daughter who were deported were not immediately returned to the U.S.

In the middle of a deportation court hearing on Thursday, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union found out a mother and daughter they were representing were already on a plane to El Salvador.

Judge Emmet Sullivan immediately ordered the government to “return ‘Carmen’ and her daughter to the United States” and called the deportation “outrageous.”

Carmen is a pseudonym for the woman who, along with her daughter, was denied asylum. The ACLU was fighting to delay their deportation while a separate case was underway.

“She was fleeing pervasive domestic abuse, sexual abuse as well as threats from violent gang members and she fled to this country looking for safety,” said ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell.

Carmen and 11 co-plaintiffs are challenging a new Trump administration policy that makes it more difficult for immigrants claiming to be victims of domestic or gang violence to get asylum.

The Justice Department is not commenting on the case. Carmen and her daughter never got off the plane in El Salvador. They were flown back to Houston and sent to a detention center in South Texas.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Houston Friday at the U.S. Attorney Office to speak about reducing violent crime.

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