February 17, 2023

ACLU-NH Wrongful Deportation Immigration Lawsuit to Continue

Case seeks damages after unlawful deportation, which resulted in harm and torture

The ACLU of New Hampshire and Preti Flaherty can continue with their lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of Jose Daniel Guerra-Castañeda, after a federal court yesterday rejected the government’s motion to dismiss the suit.

“This decision is a critical win for government accountability,” said SangYeob Kim, Staff Attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “The court’s decision today to allow the case to proceed makes clear that the law itself does not prevent anyone from holding the government accountable when it acts unlawfully. In this case, ICE’s violation of federal court orders to keep our client in the country cost him horrifying physical and emotional trauma that will last a lifetime.”

Guerra-Castañeda was unlawfully deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in September 2019 despite two federal court orders to keep him in the United States while his asylum case was pending. As a result of his deportation, Guerra-Casteñeda was incarcerated in a Salvadoran prison for 297 days where he experienced extensive torture, inhumane conditions, and other forms of physician and emotional trauma.

The court denied the state’s motion to dismiss in a February 16 ruling, allowing the case to proceed.

“The state unlawfully deported Guerra-Casteñeda ignoring multiple federal court orders and evidence that a deportation would result in his inhumane treatment, a threat that caused Guerra-Casteñeda to seek asylum in the first place,” said Colin T. Barrett of Preti Flaherty. “The court’s decision to allow this case to move forward is an important step in holding the government accountable for its wrongdoing which resulted in terrible outcomes.”


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