SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought on behalf of tens of thousands of immigrants around the United States who may not have been told that they had a one-year deadline to apply for asylum.

The case concerns immigrants who either were found to have a credible fear of persecution if returned to their home country or expressed such a fear. They were then released from immigration custody pending deportation proceedings, but according to their lawyers were not told about the deadline.

The Department of Homeland Security argued that even if they missed the deadline, the asylum seekers could still ask an immigration judge for permission to apply. But U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said Tuesday that's not good enough, because the law gives them a right to seek asylum within a year.