‘Dreamer’ Who Claims He Was Wrongly Deported Drops Lawsuit Against Trump


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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program who was deported earlier this year has dropped his lawsuit against the Trump administration to get back into the U.S.

Juan Manuel Montes, a 23-year-old Mexican national, previously claimed he was improperly removed from the U.S. in February despite having protected status under the now-cancelled DACA program. Border Patrol agents detained him in Calexico, Calif., where he lived with his family, and deported him across the border to Mexico when he was unable to produce identification, Montes said.


The only known ‘Dreamer’ to have claimed wrongful deportation, Montes sued the Trump administration in April, asking a federal court to review legality of his removal. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel presided over hearings on the case in August and planned to allow Montes to return to the U.S. so he could testify on his own behalf.

Montes’ lawyers filed a notice on Wednesday with the judge explaining he had elected to drop the case and remain in Mexico.

Montes’ situation first came to light in April, when he told USA TODAY that U.S. border agents had picked him up in the early morning hours of Feb. 18. Montes did not have his wallet or employment authorization document to prove that he had active DACA status, according to his account.

Border agents refused to let him go to his car to fetch the documents, and walked him across the border to Mexicali, Mexico, Montes said.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) disputed that version of the story, saying it had no record of Montes being deported that night.  Border agents had instead arrested Montes on Feb. 19 after he climbed over the border fence from Mexico into California, DHS told The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: DHS Disputes USA TODAY Report About Deportation Of ‘Dreamer’)

“Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez was apprehended by the Calexico Station Border Patrol after illegally entering the U.S. by climbing over the fence in downtown Calexico,” DHS spokesman Matt Lapan told the TheDCNF. “He was arrested by BP just minutes after he made his illegal entry and admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally.”

Following USA TODAY’s initial report on the case, DHS claimed that Montes’ DACA status was expired at the time of his deportation. The agency later confirmed he had renewed his status through 2018, but voided his eligibility when he left the U.S. without permission.

Lawyers for the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), which is part of Montes’ legal team, said the decision to drop the lawsuit does not mean Montes is recanting his version of events.

“From the outset, Juan Manuel has been consistent and continues to be adamant about what happened to him. We stand by Juan Manuel,” NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié told USA TODAY. “But as his attorneys, we respect his wishes. He has a right to withdraw his case.”

Montes remains living with relatives in Mexico.

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