A young man who was protected from deportation under an Obama-era program aimed at allowing immigrants brought to the United States as children to stay was sent back to his native Mexico by U.S. border authorities, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
On Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, 23, who had lived in the United States since he was 9, was deported from the border city of Calexico, California, after being questioned by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, the newspaper said.
This was the first documented deportation of a “Dreamer,” a name given to those granted protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by Democratic President Barack Obama and extended by Republican President Donald Trump, USA Today said. (//usat.ly/2pyPQZ0)
Montes had left his wallet in a friend’s car so couldn’t show identification or proof of his DACA status and was told by agents he couldn’t go and get them, the paper reported. Less than three hours later, he was in Mexico, where he remains, it said.
Trump has moved to fulfill a campaign pledge to discourage illegal immigration by signing executive orders to toughen enforcement against an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. This has included widening the criteria for detaining and deporting such people and unveiling plans to hire thousands of new agents.
But Trump allowed to remain in place the DACA protections Obama had granted to more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants, saying he felt sympathy for these young people who have limited ties to the countries of their birth.
“They shouldn’t be very worried,” he told ABC News in January. “I do have a big heart.”
But at least 10 are in federal custody, according to United We Dream, an advocacy organization made up of DACA enrollees and other young immigrants, USA Today reported.
A group of attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in California on Tuesday asking a judge to force CBP to release details of the agent’s encounter with Montes, USA Today said.
Democrat Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House of Representatives, commented on the report on Tuesday, saying in a statement: “Another promise cruelly broken by President Trump, this one with heartbreaking consequences for brave young DREAMers across the nation.”
(Writing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)