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20 April 2017, 01:49 | Laverne Osborne
A 23-year-old undocumented immigrant who had been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy has been deported to Mexico, according to court documents and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records.
Advocates on Tuesday accused the government of improperly deporting a man who should have had protected status in the USA - but the Department of Homeland Security disputes their claims. Montes sued Tuesday for access to records on his deportation.
In March, the Indiana-born judge approved a $25 million settlement between the two sides in the class-action suit.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) says federal agents should not have carried out the first deportation of a "Dreamer" under President Trump's tenure.
The attorneys say Customs and Border Protection should have known Montes, who was brought to the United States when he was 9 years old, had DACA status, first granted in 2014, renewed in 2016 and not set to expire until 2018.
A DHS spokeswoman said Montes was apprehended by Border Patrol officers after he illegally entered the country by climbing over the border fence in downtown Calexico, according to a statementprovided to reporters.
PBS NewsHour's Lisa Desjardins asked President Donald Trump about his upcoming executive order on immigration, as well as his plans for the DACA program during a news conference at the White House in mid-February. Trump has kept it in place and made sympathetic remarks about its beneficiaries, angering some immigration hardliners. CBP claims that Montes' DACA protection expired in 2015, but his lawyers say they have documentation showing otherwise.
The administration's focus is on removing people caught at the border, recent entrants and people who ran afoul of the law, Sessions said. He has indicated that undocumented immigrants protected under DACA, known as "DREAMers", would not be deported. "To me, it's one of the most hard subjects I have because you have these incredible kids".
Sure enough, not long afterwards, the Department of Homeland Security challenged Montes' story.
The attorneys said in a lawsuitfiled Tuesday in the Southern District of California that their client left the country February 17 only because he was stopped by a law enforcement official and asked for identification while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of San Diego.
FYI: Trump pledged to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. After attempting to reenter the U.S. by climbing the boarder barrier, he was captured and again returned to Mexico. But the lawsuit alleges that the incident described by Border Patrol happened days after his initial deportation. He later climbed the border fence in an attempt to reenter the USA, but was sent right back by authorities.
Montes' attorneys say the only reason he left the country is because he was deported.
Immigrants can legally be removed without a court case under a process called expedited removal if they're within 100 miles of the border and have been in the United States less than two weeks.
Montes, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child and has a cognitive disability, has been in the USA since he was 9 years old, according to the law center.
Montes was reportedly a crop-picker who was enrolled in welding classes at a southern California community college.
Despite his criminal record, Montes did not expect to be kicked out of the U.S.
He is now staying at his aunt and uncle's home in western Mexico. Montes also had been arrested for theft and sentenced to probation, although Montes' lawyers argue that conviction is not grounds for revocation of DACA protection.
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