DHS Still Denies It Deported Immigrant Protected By Amnesty, But Changes Its Story

(Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The Department of Homeland Security maintains that it did not deport an illegal immigrant protected by amnesty in February, but changed its reasoning in a statement Wednesday.

USA Today reported Tuesday that Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez was deported on Feb. 17 after he was stopped by a Customs and Border Protection officer in Calexico, Calif who asked for identification. Montes-Bojorquez said that he left his wallet in a friend’s car which had his ID and a card showing he received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Due to not having these on his person, Montes-Bojorquez said that CBP deported him to Mexico within three hours.

A complaint filed by his lawyers against the federal government says that after this occurred he has assaulted and robbed while back in Mexico. The complaint said that Montes-Bojorquez was subsequently “shaken and feared for his life” and crossed the border back into Calexico. He shortly thereafter saw CBP officers and “turned himself in.”

DHS spokesman David Lapan told The Daily Caller Tuesday that Montes-Bojorquez was deported after crossing a border fence over into Calexico and that he wasn’t protected under amnesty as his DACA status expired in 2015. While the Trump administration has cracked down on illegal immigration, it has continued to honor Barack Obama’s executive amnesty and approve applications for it.

Lapan updated his story Wednesday and told TheDC, “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,” Lapan said.  “Departing the country without advanced parole terminates the protections Montes-Bojorquez was granted under DACA.”

A Univision reporter said Wednesday that the DHS said the confusion on Tueday was due to Montes-Bojorquez being sent a letter in August 2015 reminding him that his amnesty status was soon to expire.

The DHS spokesman continued to deny that Montes-Bojorquez’s account of being picked up off the street in February is false. “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,” Lapan said.

The spokesman said that during his arrest interview on Feb. 19, Montes-Bojorquez “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.”

Montes-Bojorquez was previously convicted of shoplifting in July 2016, however, this is not a serious enough crime to terminate his DACA status.