One of the protected DREAMers deported by U.S. Border Patrol has been arrested for the second time this year after he tried to re-enter United States earlier this week.
Juan Manuel Montes, aged 23 years was arrested after he was observed on the U.S. side of the border by Border Patrol agents monitoring video footage near Calexico in California where he had lived for better part of his life.
A Border Patrol statement said that Montes ran for around 200 yards and then tried to flee as Border Patrol agents reached him. He was however caught and later arrested. He has been sent to the Imperial County Jail and is facing federal charges that can result in jail time of up to two years.
Montes Alleges Border Patrol Wrongfully Deported Him
Montes claims that Border Patrol agents had deported him in February in spite of being protected against deportation under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. This likely makes him the first DACA enrollee known to have been deported by the Trump administration
Border Patrol however disputes Montes’ claim stating that there was no record of Montes being deported in February. According to the authorities, Montes may have exited the country without necessary approval which automatically terminates his status under DACA.
A group of lawyers subsequently challenged his deportation in court, and a federal judge of San Diego was expected to hear the case in December. Presiding U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was also ready to allow Montes to enter the country so that he may testify for himself .
In October however Montes told his lawyers that he wanted to withdraw the case without offering any explanation. He had been living in Mexico with his relatives for eight months at that point in time.
According to his lawyers Montes struggles with a cognitive disability suffered due to an incident in his childhood.
DACA Protects Minors Who Entered the U.S. Illegally
Montes was protected by a program launched by President Obama which allows minors who entered the country as undocumented immigrants to stay. Called the DREAMers , these immigrants number around 8,00,000, and have been granted work permits.
After President Trump announced in September that the program would be scrapped, the DREAMers have remained in a state of limbo. Trump has given six months to the Congress to pass a bill that will protect the DREAMers. He has however indicated that he may extend the DACA protection if the Congress is unable to find a legal solution.
For Montes however, the situation remains grim.
Montes’ Fate Remains Uncertain
Montes first made an attempt to re-enter the U.S. in February, just after the night he claimed he was deported and the Border Patrol states he left voluntarily. He was caught then and deported immediately by Border Patrol agents.
His latest attempt this week is the second time he has tried to get back into the U.S. As per federal law re-entering the U.S. illegally after being deported is a felony offence that attracts a fine and prison term of up to two years.
Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David Kim noted that Border Patrol Agents try to stop and arrest all attempts of illegal entry into the country regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.
Montes’ lawyers are yet to comment.