The American Civil Liberties Union says hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Mexicans who were expelled from the country by immigration officials in Southern California will be allowed to return for chance to make their case to stay in the United States.

A settlement approved Thursday by a federal judge in Los Angeles applies to Mexicans in Southern California who waived rights to a hearing when they were expelled — a procedure known as voluntary return.

ACLU affiliates sued the Department of Homeland Security's secretary in 2013, alleging authorities used deceptive tactics. A settlement was reached in August, but it was unclear until now who would be eligible to apply.

The agreement applies to Mexicans who left voluntarily from June 2009 to August 2014. They will make their case to immigration judges.