Lopez-Venegas v Johnson is a class action lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of Mexican nationals who were eligible to reside in the United States lawfully, but instead were misinformed, deceived or threatened into signing their own expulsion orders through misuse of a process known as “voluntary departure” by immigration enforcement agencies operating in Southern California.
The lawsuit was also filed on behalf of organizational plaintiffs who have had to divert their missions and expend resources in responding to the government’s practices around voluntary return. As administered and practiced in Southern California, the “voluntary departure” program has become a regime of unlawful coerced expulsion — one which tears numerous families apart every year, families who have established roots in the United States.
U.S. District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt grants motion for preliminary approval of the class portions of the agreement. Read the preliminary approval.
A settlement agreement is reached and the ACLU, Cooley LLP file a motion for preliminary approval of the class portions of the agreement. Read the settlement.
The parties begin the settlement process.
The Judge orders the parties to attend a settlement conference with the magistrate.
The court enters a protective order in the case that prevents the government from using information obtained from the witnesses in the case to engage in immigration enforcement against those witnesses. The order ensures that witnesses are not discouraged from stepping forward. Read the order.
U.S. District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt largely denies the government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and while he finds that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims, he denies the request for a preliminary injunction.
November 5, 2013: ACLU and Cooley LLP file a motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of certain clients with small children. The ACLU and Cooley LLP asks the court to allow those plaintiffs with U.S.-born citizen children to be allowed to return the United States to aid in their children’s development. Read the motion.
Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit arguing that there is no problem with their voluntary departure practices, and challenging the inclusion of organizational plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
First Amended Complaint filed. Read the complaint.
Government files motion to dismiss our complaint.
ACLU SoCal files a motion in opposition to the Defendant’s motion to transfer the case.
Judge agrees to extend the deadline by which to file class certification motion.
Defendants file a motion to transfer the case from the Central District to the Southern District, which they later withdraw on October 31, 2013.
The ACLU Foundation of Southern California, the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and the law firm of Cooley LLP file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Mexican nationals who were eligible to reside in the United States lawfully, but instead were misinformed, deceived or threatened into signing their own expulsion orders through misuse of a process known as “voluntary departure” by immigration enforcement agencies operating in Southern California. The lawsuit is also on behalf of organizations that work with immigrants and have been harmed by these unfair voluntary departure practices. Read the complaint.