USA Today reported Tuesday that Juan Manuel Montes, a DREAMer who first came to the U.S. when he was 9, is now in his native Mexico. Federal agents deported him despite him having active protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Some people told me that they were going to deport me; others said nothing would happen,” Montes said from his relatives’ home in western Mexico. “I thought that if I kept my nose clean nothing would happen.”
Juan Manuel was approached by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officer the evening of Feb.17 in Calexico, California; he had left his wallet in his friend’s car and was unable to prove his DACA status. Hours later Juan Manuel was in Mexico, USA Today reports that the agents did not allow him to go retrieve his documents.
Gillian Christensen, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security disputes his story, claiming instead that “he was arrested by BP just minutes after he made his illegal entry and admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally.”
DACA was first implemented under Former President Obama, with over 750,000 participants; Trump vowed to end DACA on the campaign trail, but has since then spoken about tackling the issue “with heart.” United We Dream, an advocacy organization made up of DACA enrollees, claims that at least 10 recipients are currently in federal custody.