House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement Tuesday evening following a USA Today report that the Trump administration had deported its first DREAMer, Juan Manuel Montes, allegedly protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
“Instead of honoring the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, President Trump has unleashed an indiscriminate deportation dragnet of appalling inhumanity,” Pelosi wrote.
Montes is suing the federal government and the USA Today report is now being disputed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP said Montes’ DACA permit expired in August 2015. Montes’ lawyers claim he had renewed it in 2016 and it expires in 2018. CBP also pointed out the fact, acknowledged even in USA Today’s report, that Montes was convicted of theft and sentenced to probation.
“Court records show he has four convictions: one for shoplifting in January 2016, and three for driving without a license, most recently three months ago,” according to USA Today.
Those convictions, however, are not serious enough to disqualify him from DACA protections, USA Today adds, citing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services guidelines.
According to Fox News, the lawsuit says that Montes was sent back to Mexico on Feb. 17 after being stopped by law enforcement and asked for identification while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California. He claims he had left his wallet in a friend's car and felt "scared and confused."
Montes then claims he returned to the United States after getting assaulted on the Mexican border, turned himself in to authorities, and was sent back to Mexico.
CBP says “Montes was arrested after climbing over a border fence in downtown Calexico and admitted under oath that he had entered the country illegally.”
“The Trump Administration is terrorizing patriotic young people who want nothing more than to live, work and contribute to the country they love – the only home they’ve ever known,” Pelosi said in her statement. “These outstanding young men and women are American in every way but on paper.”
“The Trump Administration’s cruelty toward the DREAMers disgraces our values as a nation,” she concluded. “Shame on them. House Democrats will continue to stand behind our young DREAMers, and we will continue to fight for the comprehensive immigration reform our nation so urgently needs.”
Rep Steve King (R-IA) had a very different reaction to the deportation, tweeting a toast to Border Patrol featuring a foaming mug of beer.