Thanks to President Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policies, a protected undocumented immigrant was deported to Mexico within hours of his detention.
The executive order, which initially aimed to keep the “bad guys” out, engulfed several innocent undocumented immigrants over the past two months. However, 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes is believed to be the first one to be sent back to Mexico in spite of his active Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
Yet, Customs and Border Protection agents “arrested, detained and physically removed” Montes as he was waiting for a ride in the border town of Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 17.
When an agent asked for his ID and proof of DACA status, Montes couldn’t produce it since he had left his wallet in a friend's car, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), , an organization that represents Montes.
Montes asked if he could be allowed to retrieve his papers, but his request was denied. He was also not allowed access to a lawyer. Within three hours of being approached by border agents, he was deported to Mexico, a country he left when he was 9.
FYI: Trump pledged to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. Montes’ case, however, proves the POTUS’ immigration crackdown has indeed become indiscriminate and ruthless.
“Juan Manuel was funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why or how,” said Nora Preciado, a staff attorney at NILC. “The government shouldn’t treat anyone this way — much less someone who has DACA. No one should have to file a lawsuit to find out what happened to them.”
The “DREAMer” was had been granted deportation protections, not once but twice, under the DACA program created by President Barack Obama.
Montes had enrolled at a local community college in Southern California to study welding. He was also working as a farmer to pay for school, according to a statement released by NILC.
Unlike most DACA recipients, Montes wasn't a high school's valedictorian or a prominent immigration activist. In fact, he struggled in school, NILC explains, after he “suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child and has a cognitive disability.”
Despite all the problems, Montes managed to complete special education courses and graduated high school in 2013.
"Some people told me that they were going to deport me; others said nothing would happen," Montes told USA TODAY. “I thought that if I kept my nose clean nothing would happen."
He is currently staying at his aunt and uncle's home in western Mexico.