Immigration officials have deported a man who is believed to be the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipient to be deported under President Donald Trump’s administration.
California resident Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was deported in February, according to his legal team at the National Immigration Law Center. He currently remains in Mexico awaiting further information on his status, and has filed a federal lawsuit as his deportation challenges continue.
Montes first arrived in the U.S. at the age of nine, and had been working in agriculture and studying welding at local community college when he was picked up by a Border Patrol agent in Calexico. Without identification on his person, Montes was deported to Mexico that night. He had been twice protected by the Obama-era DACA status, which was valid through 2018.
Enacted by the Obama administration, the DACA program is meant to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children (known as Dreamers) from deportation and also gives them work permits.
“I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes said in a statement. “I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again.”
“We look forward to presenting our case to the court, because our client has the right to know why and how he was physically removed from the United States when he had permission to live and work here,” said Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney representing Montes. His team had already filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for further insight into his removal in March, but has yet to receive a response