A 23-year-old man who thought he was protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government requesting documentation that explains what led to his deportation in February.
The suit, which was filed by Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez with the assistance of the National Immigration Law Center, is one that other DACA recipients (often referred to as DREAMers) are observing with interest.
The DACA program, which was put into place by the Obama administration in June 2012, provides temporary protection for immigrant children who were brought to the United States by their parents. These eligible individuals can apply for authorization from DACA to live and work in the United States for two year, renewable periods of time. Approximately 750,000 eligible immigrants are covered by DACA at this time.
Montes-Bojorquez was brought the U.S. when he was 9 years old and was approved for DACA when he applied in 2014, with a successful renewal of his authorization in 2016 that doesn't expire until 2018. In spite of this authorization, when Montes was stopped by a Border Patrol agent while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California, he couldn't present his identification - which had been left in a friend's car - upon demand. Montes was detained, questioned, and taken to the Mexico border, where he was physically removed from the U.S. He has not been able to re-enter as of this writing.
Montes is the first DREAMer to be deported by the current administration - and many other DACA recipients have expressed concerned that his case will be indicative of a less understanding approach to their status. A tweet posted on March 9 by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement did little to lessen those concerns - "DACA is not a protected legal status, but active DACA recipients are typically a lower level enforcement priority."
If you or a loved one has legal concerns about the interplay between your legal status and DACA, The U.S. Law Center in California help. We have represented many clients with their immigration and DACA related legal issues. Our attorneys are available to answer any questions or offer legal advice regarding current DACA status or new applications to the program.