Why the first 'Dreamer' deported under Trump was sent back to Mexico

A spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection said the 23-year-old entered the United States illegally. At least 10 Dreamers remain in federal custody.

Rodrigo Abd/AP
A youth looks at a new, taller fence being built along US-Mexico border, replacing the shorter, gray metal fence in front of it, in the Anapra neighborhood of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from Sunland Park, New Mexico.

A young man who was protected from deportation under an Obama-era program aimed at allowing immigrants brought to the United States as children to stay was sent back to his native Mexico by US border authorities, USA TODAY reported on Tuesday.

On Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, 23, who had lived in the United States since he was 9, was deported from the border city of Calexico, Calif., after being questioned by a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, the newspaper said.

It was the first documented deportation of a "Dreamer," a name given to those granted protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by Democratic President Barack Obama and extended by President Trump, USA TODAY said. 

Mr. Montes had left his wallet in a friend's car so could not show identification or proof of his DACA status and was told by agents he could not go get them, the paper reported. Less than three hours later, he was in Mexico, where he remains, it said.

In response to a request for comment by Reuters, a CPB spokesman said in an emailed statement that Montes had been apprehended "after illegally entering the United States by climbing over the fence in downtown Calexico."

The spokesman also said that Montes' DACA status had expired in August 2015 and that he had been convicted of theft for which he received probation.

USA TODAY reported that Montes' attorneys provided a copy of his work authorization card that showed his DACA status was valid through 2018.

DACA protection is automatically lost if someone commits a crime or is found to have gang affiliations.

Mr. Trump has moved to fulfill a campaign pledge to discourage illegal immigration by signing executive orders to toughen enforcement against an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. This has included widening the criteria for detaining and deporting such people and unveiling plans to hire thousands of new agents.

But Trump allowed to remain in place the DACA protections Mr. Obama had granted to more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants, saying he felt sympathy for these young people who have limited ties to the countries of their birth.

At least 10 Dreamers are in federal custody, according to United We Dream, an advocacy organization made up of DACA enrollees and other young immigrants, USA TODAY reported.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House of Representatives, commented on the report, saying in a statement: "Another promise cruelly broken by President Trump, this one with heartbreaking consequences for brave young DREAMers across the nation."

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