- Associated Press
Thursday, October 3, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that the federal government return a Salvadoran man to the United States after he was deported despite a court order allowing him to remain here.

In its brief filed Wednesday, the ACLU of New Hampshire said that José Daniel Guerra-Castañeda was deported last month by U.S. Immigration and Enforcement to El Salvador and is in a crowded jail there.


A federal judge in Boston ruled last month that Guerra-Castañeda could remain in the United States to fight deportation efforts over an alleged murder he committed in El Salvador. Guerra-Castañeda, who was living in Massachusetts, was detained in New Hampshire, has argued he would face “persecution and torture” in El Salvador

The ACLU said Guerra-Castañeda had been sent to a detention center in Louisiana ahead of his pending deportation. After the court ruling, court records show ICE officials in Boston sent an email to their colleagues in Louisiana advising them that Guerra-Castañeda should not be deported

Despite that correspondence, the ACLU said he was deported on Sept. 13, two days after the second of two court orders staying his deportation

“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,” said Gilles Bissonnette, legal director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “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 ACLU wants the federal government to return Guerra-Castañeda to the United States, where he was fighting deportation over alleged crimes committed in El Salvador.

If he is not returned, the ACLU wants the government held in contempt and fined $1,000 a day. In the court filings, the ACLU said that ICE had indicated it was seeking information about Guerra-Castañeda including the status of his criminal case and the possibility of returning him to the United States. But ICE also said it lacked the resources to facilitate a return.

A spokesman for ICE said the agency couldn’t comment on the case in “light of the ongoing nature of this litigation.”

The ACLU said Guerra-Castañeda’s case is a part of a trend. Nationwide, it said, it has documented eight cases in which ICE attempted to deport someone after a court ruled the person could stay. In three cases, it said, the person was illegally removed despite a law prohibiting it. In five cases, an immigration lawyer intervened and prevented their deportation.

“The growing trend of illegal deportations is deeply troubling,” SangYeob Kim, an immigration staff attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said in a statement. “We cannot, as a matter of principle, let any defiance of a court order go without consequence _ particularly in a case like this where someone may be persecuted or tortured if deported.”


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