USA Today reported Tuesday that an illegal immigrant protected by Barack Obama’s amnesty was deported in February after spending an evening with his girlfriend. However, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told The Daily Caller that they have no record of this incident and that Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez’s amnesty status was terminated.
The USA Today story said that Montes-Bojorquez, 23, was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in Calexico, Calif while he was waiting for a car ride to pick him up.
According to the article, he told the officers he left his wallet in his friend’s car and because he didn’t have his ID or proof of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, he was deported.
“Within three hours, he was back in Mexico, becoming the first undocumented immigrant with active DACA status deported by the Trump administration’s stepped-up deportation policy,” the USA Today reporters wrote.
The Trump administration has said it will not deport the over 750,000 illegal immigrants who receive DACA, but this incident, if accurate, would have been a departure from that policy.
David Lapan, a DHS spokesman, orginally told TheDC Tuesday that Bojorquez’s DACA status “expired in Aug. 2015.”
However, in an updated statement Wednesday, Lapan said: “After a detailed records search, we determined that Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez was approved for DACA starting in 2014 and had a DACA expiration date of Jan. 25, 2018. However, Mr. Montes-Bojorquez lost his DACA status when he left the United States without advanced parole on an unknown date prior to his arrest by the U.S. Border Patrol on Feb. 19, 2017.”
Montes-Bojorquez’ lawyers said that after he was deported on Feb. 18, he subsequently returned to the U.S. after being robbed in Mexico, and shortly thereafter turned himself in to immigration officials.
The DHS spokesman said: “The U.S. Border Patrol has no record of encountering Mr. Montes-Bojorquez in the days before his detention and subsequent arrest for immigration violations on February 19, 2017. There are no records or evidence to support Montes-Bojorquez’s claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on February 18, 2017.”
“During his arrest interview, he never mentioned that he had received DACA status. However, even if Montes-Bojorquez had informed agents of his DACA status, he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the U.S. illegally,” Lapan added.
This article from USA Today received a swift reaction on Twitter. Sean McElwee, a policy analyst at Demos Action, said it was “absolutely horrifying.” MSNBC host Christopher Hayes said, “This is profoundly messed up.” Gizmodo staff writer Libby Watson tweeted, “the lack of due process and basic decency for immigrants is really astounding. can’t be covered enough.”
Earlier Tuesday, DHS Secretary John Kelly condemned false news stories in a speech at George Washington University. “So I make my way up the Beltway every day, and I use that hour or so to read the news clips about DHS. It’s one of the first two things I do every day—the other is the daily intelligence briefing,” Kelly said. “In one, I read what other people are saying about me—and more important, what they’re saying about my people. In the other, I learn about what’s really going on.”
Updated on Wednesday with new statement from DHS.