‘Dreamer’ Case Draws Judge Trump Once Derided As ‘Mexican’

In a twist, an immigration case will land the Trump administration in front of the federal judge who the president trashed over his Mexican ancestry

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Apr 19, 2017 at 6:34 PM ET

The federal judge who Donald Trump once derided as “a Mexican” will soon oversee the high-profile case involving the deportation of a so-called “Dreamer” by the new president’s administration.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel will handle the lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant who was removed from the U.S. despite having permission to live and work in the country, USA Today reported. Curiel, who was born in Indiana, had previously presided over a different lawsuit in which Trump, in his role as a businessman, was accused of fraud by former students of the his now-defunct Trump University.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly attacked Curiel and accused him of being impartial in the case due to his Mexican ancestry. Trump called Curiel a “hater,” and said the American jurist was being unfair because he is “Hispanic” and because Trump had pledged to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border. Eventually, Trump agreed to pay $25 million to resolve the suit.

Curiel will now rule on whether the Trump administration must turn over all records related to Montes’ deportation case.

A California resident, Montes — who received temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA — claims he was detained for no reason by federal agents in the town of Calexico on February 17 and deported to Mexico only hours later. Two days later, on February 19, he tried to sneak back into the U.S. by climbing over the border wall and was arrested and sent back to Mexico a second time.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a a statement Wednesday that it “had no record” of Montes’ apprehension by Border Patrol agents in the first alleged incident, though it did confirm that he was caught by federal immigration agents while trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico on February 19. The agency said that Montes had violated his DACA status when he left the country because recipients must receive prior governmental approval before leaving the country.