On October 2, 2019, the ACLU of New Hampshire filed a brief at the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston on behalf of a man who was illegally deported by ICE after the Circuit Court  ordered him to remain in the United States during his immigration appeal. The First Circuit—the circuit just below the U.S. Supreme Court—had issued orders on August 30, 2019 and September 11, 2019 temporarily halting the man’s deportation so his appeal could proceed, but ICE violated the orders and deported him on September 13, 2019. The brief asks the government to be held in contempt.

As the brief argues, no one is above the law, and when the court issues an order, we are all bound to uphold it—especially the United States government.  No human being should be sent by the United States to a country where they will be tortured or persecuted before they ever have an opportunity to challenge their removal. The federal government should to be held in contempt of court and fined every day until our client is returned so he can continue litigating his case.

Preliminary affidavits from immigration lawyers around the country show at least eight of these wrongful deportation cases from the past year alone, indicating that this is not a one-off or rare circumstance. In three cases, the person was illegally removed from the country despite the law prohibiting their deportation. In five cases, lawyers learned their clients were about to be illegally deported, and made successful attempts to keep them in the United States.

The issue of contempt has since been resolved. 



Gilles Bissonnette, ACLU-NH Legal Director, Henry Klementowicz, ACLU-NH Staff Attorney, and SangYeob Kim, ACLU-NH Immigration Staff Attorney

Date filed

October 2, 2019


First Circuit Court of Appeals



Case number