'Dreamer' returned to Mexico despite Trump promise

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19 April, 2017

The DACA policy, launched by the Obama administration in 2012, protects persons - often called "DREAMers" - brought into the US during their youth from deportation and provides them with the right to work legally.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit filed on behalf of Juan Manuel Montes alleges that U.S. immigration officials failed to provide any documentation to explain the legal basis for sending the 23-year-old Mexican national to Mexico, even after his legal counsel contacted U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

While the Trump administration is moving swiftly to crack down on illegal immigration, President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been left in place, for now. He was approached by Border Patrol agents in Calexico, California and prohibited from getting his wallet from a friend's auto so that he could prove his status, USA Today reports.

Instead of allowing the young man to retrieve proof of his DACA protections and stay in the country, he was shipped back to Mexico - a direct result of Donald Trump's deportation escalation.

Montes told USA Today he grabbed a bite and was waiting for a ride in Calexico, Calif., when approached by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer.

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When he was detained in February, Montes did not have his identification on him, was not given an opportunity to see an immigration judge or ask for help from an attorney, and was escorted across the border into Mexicali without copies of the papers he signed that gave reason for his removal, his attorneys said in the lawsuit.

At least 10 Dreamers are in federal custody, according to United We Dream, an advocacy organization made up of DACA enrollees and other young immigrants, USA Today reported. According to the lawsuit, Montes unsuccessfully attempted to re-enter the US a few days later.

Montes was granted DACA status in 2014, two years after the program was established under President Barack Obama. He started taking welding classes at a Southern California community college and paid for it by picking crops in California and Arizona. Preciado said the lawsuit was filed to determine "what happened" in February and that they are unable to move forward without additional information. Montes has learning disabilities stemming from a traumatic brain injury he suffered as a child. He again was detained, questioned and asked to sign documents before being returned to Mexico. He also has three convictions for driving without a license, but USA Today notes that none of those convictions are serious enough to disqualify him from receiving DACA status.

Homeland Security said Montes' criminal record includes a theft conviction for which he received probation.

"There I worked and studied at the same time". Rather than continuing his education in the United States, where he was studying welding at community college, Montes now works at a gas station and tortilla mill, dreaming of the day he can come home.


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