Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union contended in a lawsuit on behalf of roughly 10 plaintiffs expelled to Mexico that the immigrants were tricked or coerced into signing their own expulsion orders.
U.S. officials and the ACLU reached a settlement last August to prevent immigration authorities from pressuring undocumented immigrants in Southern California to sign off on their expulsions to Mexico. The agreement laid the groundwork for a broader class of expelled immigrants than the original plaintiffs to potentially return to the United States.
U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt in Los Angeles on Thursday approved the ACLU's request to broaden the class of plaintiffs to include immigrants improperly expelled between June 2009 and August 2014, said Anna Castro, a spokeswoman for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
The settlement is limited in scope, applying to immigrants expelled from Southern California, because the ACLU's allegations of violations of due process centered on that region. But rights groups have hailed it as a victory.