On May 10, 2022, the ACLU of New Hampshire and Preti Flaherty LLP filed a lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of Jose Daniel Guerra-Castañeda, a man who 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, Guerra-Castañeda was incarcerated in a Salvadoran prison for 297 days where he experienced extensive torture, inhumane conditions, and other forms of physical and emotional trauma.
As explained in the lawsuit, 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. 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. 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.
Previously, the ACLU of New Hampshire represented Guerra-Castañeda in a separate lawsuit seeking a contempt finding right after he was unlawfully deported. He is now back in the United States, having been cleared of all criminal allegations of wrongdoing against him.
The lawsuit argues that officials at ICE and the Department of Homeland Security should have been aware of the order to keep Guerra-Castañeda in the country, and that Guerra-Castañeda’s treatment in El Salvador was the foreseeable result of the wrongful deportation in light of the false criminal claims against him. It further details that the government’s conduct was a breach in their duty to care for those in their facilities and was the direct cause and a substantial factor in causing the unlawful deportation and subsequent torture experienced by Guerra-Castañeda.
On February 16, 2023, the Court issued an order allowing the case to proceed.