A 23-year-old man sued the federal government over his deportation to Mexico, saying he was entitled to remain in the US under a program shielding people who came to the country as young children. Juan Manuel Montes' attorneys say their client is believed to be the first known person who qualifies for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be deported by President Trump, the AP reports. The attorneys say Montes qualified for DACA in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016. US Customs and Border Protection disputes Montes' account of his immigration status, saying his DACA permit expired in August 2015 and wasn't renewed. The agency says Montes was once convicted of theft and sentenced to probation. His lawyers acknowledge in the suit he had a misdemeanor on his record and "minor traffic offenses," none of which would have disqualified him from DACA.
The suit, which says Montes came to the US when he was 9, notes he was sent to Mexico on Feb. 17 after law enforcement stopped him in Calexico, Calif., and asked for ID. It says he'd forgotten his wallet in a friend's car and felt "scared and confused." The suit adds he was asked to sign documents without being given copies or meeting with an immigration judge. Montes returned to the US Feb. 19 and turned himself in; he was again asked to sign documents and returned to Mexico. CBP says Montes was arrested after climbing over a Calexico border fence and admitting he'd entered the country illegally. "I was forced out because I was nervous and didn't know what to do or say," he says. A National Immigration Law Center attorney says he was "funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why ... The government shouldn't treat anyone this way."