This Is The First Protected ‘Dreamer’ Deported Under Trump

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, claims that he was detained and shipped off to Mexico in a matter of hours

Juan Manuel Montes — National Immigration Law Center
Apr 19, 2017 at 12:05 PM ET

A young undocumented immigrant removed from the U.S. is believed to be the first so-called “Dreamer” to be deported under the Trump administration, according to the man and his lawyers.

Juan Manuel Montes claims he was detained by federal agents in the border town of Calexico, California in February and deported to Mexico only hours later, despite having permission to live and work in the U.S. Montes, 23, came to the U.S. with his family when he was nine years old and had twice received temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, created by former President Barack Obama and left untouched by President Trump.

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News of the incident, first reported by USA Today, surfaced after a legal team representing Montes filed a lawsuit on Tuesday that alleges the federal immigration officials failed to provide any documentation or legal basis for why the young man was deported. The case raises new concerns over the fate of roughly 750,000 DACA recipients in the U.S. even as the White House continues to shy away from actively targeting them in its sweeping immigration crackdown.

“I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes said in a statement provided by the National Immigration Law Center, one of the advocacy groups representing the young man. “I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again.”

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The Department of Homeland Security, however, said that Montes’ DACA status had expired in 2015 and that it had no record of its renewal, rendering him ineligible for protections under the program. An agency spokeswoman also told CNN in statement that Montes had a previous conviction for theft, a detail that’s also included in the young man’s lawsuit. His lawyers contend that the conviction, along with three prior convictions for driving without a license, would not disqualify him from DACA protections.