USA Today launched a provocative story late yesterday which immediately had the liberal side of the media up in arms. The blaring title read, “First protected DREAMer is deported under Trump.” The uproar was immediate and I even wound up getting into a brief Twitter debate with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes over it when we both assumed it was real. The deportation actually took place back in mid-February and the details were custom made for a 2018 political ad campaign. (Emphasis added)
Federal agents ignored President Trump’s pledge to protect from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children by sending a young man back to his native Mexico, the first such documented case, a USA TODAY examination of the new administration’s immigration policies shows.
After spending an evening with his girlfriend in Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, 23, who has lived in the U.S. since age 9, grabbed a bite and was waiting for a ride when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer approached and started asking questions.
Montes was twice granted deportation protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama and left intact by President Trump.
Wow! What an awful guy that President Trump is, eh? Look how he’s going back on his word and harassing this poor, struggling young DREAMer who simply wanted to go out on a date with his girlfriend. But there’s one problem. As the Daily Caller News Foundation quickly discovered, USA Today got nearly every aspect of the story wrong.
USA Today reported Tuesday that an illegal immigrant protected by Barack Obama’s amnesty was deported in February after spending an evening with his girlfriend. However, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told The Daily Caller that this story is false because Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez did not receive amnesty and was caught climbing over a border fence when he was detained.
The USA Today story said that Bojorquez, 23, was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents while he was waiting for a car ride to pick him up.
According to the article, he told the officers he left his wallet in his friend’s car and, because he didn’t have his ID or proof of his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, he was deported.
Here’s just how far the USA Today version veered off from reality.
USA Today: Apprehended while he was waiting for a car ride to pick him up.
Reality: Apprehended by Calexico Station Border Patrol minutes after illegally entering the U.S. by climbing over the border fence.
USA Today: Left his wallet in car so didn’t have proof of his DACA status on him.
Reality: DACA status expired in Aug. 2015 and he was notified at that time. (See Update Below)
USA Today: Said, “I thought that if I kept my nose clean nothing would happen.”
Reality: Has a conviction for theft for which he received probation.
USA Today: Montes was confused when he was approached by the federal officer in February.
Reality: “Admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally.”
As of mid-morning when I last checked, the USA Today story still didn’t have any edits or corrections included.
The only other point I would add here is the same one I was making on Twitter last night. Let’s just say for a moment that this wasn’t entirely fake news and that Montes actually didn’t have a criminal record and was under DACA status. Everyone needs to keep in mind that this isn’t a law we’re talking about. It’s a policy which was put in place by executive discretion under Barack Obama and, as yet, hasn’t been formally rescinded under President Trump. But it can be rescinded at any time. And even if it’s a policy for general conduct by the Border Patrol, that doesn’t mean that they can’t make exceptions. Montes was still in the country illegally and the fact that he wound up being sent back to Mexico after somebody spotted him illegally jumping the fence is not some horror story signaling the imminent arrival of the End Times. It’s law enforcement doing their jobs on the border.
UPDATE: (Jazz) CNN is now reporting that one aspect of the story is more complicated. A second check of Montes’ records by DHS reveals that he actually did have his DACA status renewed in 2016, good through 2018. BUT… that status is dependent on following the rules, including getting permission before leaving the country. In light of that, his DACA status was null once he left country (whenever that happened) prior to being detected illegally crossing the border back into the United States in February. Net result? The same situation applies. He was no longer covered by DACA.