CONCORD, NH ( Associated Press) – A Salvadoran man who claimed he was jailed, beaten and tortured after being wrongfully deported from the United States on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking damages for his treatment. filed.
Jose Daniel Guerra-Casteneda, 25, who has since returned to the United States and lives in Massachusetts, said in a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the ACLU that he was deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2019 despite a court order had gone. While living in the US, he said he was falsely accused of being a member of a gang in El Salvador and of committing murder.
Guerra-Castaneda alleges that upon his return to El Salvador he spent nearly 300 days in an overcrowded and unsanitary prison, where he experienced “torture and other forms of physical and emotional trauma.” As a result, he said in a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Massachusetts that he suffered physical and emotional pain, including persistent back pain.
“Violating federal court orders to keep our client in the country resulted in horrific physical and emotional trauma that would last a lifetime,” said Sangayeb Kim, an immigration staff attorney at the ACLU in New Hampshire, who worked for Preeti. filed suit with. Flaherty Law Firm.
“No human should be sent by the United States to a country where they will be tortured or persecuted before they have a chance to challenge their expulsion,” Kim said. “No one is above the law, and when a court orders it, we are all obligated to uphold it—especially the United States government.”
An ICE spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A federal judge in Boston ruled in 2019 that Guerra-Castaneda could remain in the United States to fight deportation efforts over an alleged murder committed in El Salvador. Guerra-Castaneda, who was living in Massachusetts but was detained in New Hampshire, has argued that he will face “harassment and torture” in El Salvador.
The ACLU said Guerra-Castañeda had been sent to a detention center in Louisiana before his pending deportation. Following the court’s ruling, court records show that ICE officials in Boston sent an email to their colleagues in Louisiana advising them that Guerra-Castaneda should not be deported.
Despite that correspondence, the ACLU said he was deported two days after two court orders prohibiting deportation.
In its lawsuit, the ACLU stated that officials from ICE and the Department of Homeland Security should have been aware of the order to keep Guerra-Castaneda in the country. They also argue that Guerra-Castaneda’s treatment in El Salvador can be blamed on his wrongful deportation.
Guerra-Castaneda was returned to the United States by ICE in November 2020, after his criminal charges were dropped in El Salvador. He spent 417 days in the country. He is in the process of applying for a green card.
The ACLU said the Guerra-Castañeda case is part of a trend. Nationwide, it said, it has documented at least eight cases in which ICE attempted to deport someone after they were ruled to stay. In three cases, she said, the person was illegally removed despite a law prohibiting it. In five cases, an immigration attorney intervened and prevented their deportation.