Juan Manuel Montes, the first “DREAMer” to allege being improperly deported under the Trump administration, was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents after trying to re-enter the country.
According to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Montes was able to make it about 600 feet north of the fence before getting caught and subsequently arrested. Montes reportedly dropped to the ground and tried to run away as CBP agents approached him, but was eventually apprehended.
The agency’s official statement recounts Montes’s pursuit and arrest: “After a brief foot chase, agents caught and detained the subject. The man was arrested and transported to the Calexico station for processing.”
Montes is one of the thousands of undocumented immigrants granted temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—immigrants with DACA status are nicknamed DREAMers.
DACA defers deportation for undocumented immigrants brought into the country as minors and allows them to apply for renewable work permits while they remain in the country. Leaving the U.S. as a “DREAMer” without government approval effectively removes an individual from DACA protection.
Montes explained that he ended up on the wrong side of the border when Border Patrol agents deported him in February despite the protection granted by DACA. He recalls roaming around Calexico with a friend when he was stopped and inspected by Border Patrol. Unable to produce any identification, Montes was taken to a Border Patrol station, where he claims officers coerced him into signing documents and barred him from seeking legal counsel.
His deportation came shortly after the events at the station, making him the first DACA beneficiary to be deported under the Trump administration.
Border Patrol, however, claims that no records exist of Montes’s supposed deportation, arguing that Montes must have left the country of his own volition and without permission from immigration authorities.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added that Montes’s DACA status had already expired and that his alleged voluntary departure from the country had automatically disqualified him from the program.
However, Montes argues that his DACA status was approved in 2014 and renewed in 2016; following the two-year renewal period, his status should not have expired until 2018.
In the same DHS statement, Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim said: “Our agents witnessed and arrested Mr. Bojorquez making an illegal entry into the United States for the second time this year. Border Patrol Agents will always stop, detain, and arrest anyone making an illegal entry into the country irrespective of their immigration or citizenship status.”
Now detained at the Imperial County Jail, Montes faces a federal felony charge and up to two years in prison.
In September this year, President Trump moved to end DACA but gave the program’s end by 6 months, giving Congress enough time to pass legislation that would decide the fate of thousands of DACA beneficiaries.
If you, or a loved one, are a DACA recipient concerned about your immigration status, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm to learn about your constitutional rights. Call our offices today to talk to immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.