It was big news earlier this year when 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez filed a lawsuit against U.S. Customs and Border Protection claiming he had been deported to Mexico even though he was a protected DACA recipient. Monday, Bojorque was arrested after coming across the border illegally again. From the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. Border Patrol said Mr. Montes was found about a mile north of the U.S.-Mexico border in a scrub-covered stretch of desert. The arresting agent wrote that Mr. Montes told officials he was planning to go to Sacramento.
Mr. Montes sued the Trump administration in April, alleging that Border Patrol agents in Calexico arrested and deported him in February even though he had been protected from deportation under the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program…
Mr. Montes was thought to be the first DACA recipient deported by the Trump administration.
Montes-Bojorquez came to the U.S. at age nine and applied and was granted DACA status. He claimed that on February 18th of this year he was rounded up by a CBP officer on a bike and deported to Mexico later that same night after no one bothered to check his DACA status. He then admits he jumped a fence into the U.S. the following day and was arrested. He was deported Feb. 20th for what he claims was the second time.
CBP initially claimed Bojorquez was deported because his DACA status had lapsed in 2015. However, a records search revealed he had renewed it and was protected from deportation until 2018. But in a statement released in April, the agency claimed it had never encountered Bojorquez on February 18th, meaning he wasn’t deported but had returned to Mexico on his own. Doing so, CBP pointed out, voided his DACA status:
The U.S. Border Patrol has no record of encountering Mr. Montes-Bojorquez in the days before his detention and subsequent arrest for immigration violations on February 19, 2017. There are no records or evidence to support Montes-Bojorquez’s claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on February 18, 2017…
During Mr. Montes-Bojorquez’s detention and arrest by the United States Border Patrol on February 19, he admitted to agents that he had illegally entered the United States and was arrested. He later admitted the same under oath. All of the arrest documents from February 19, 2017, bear Montes-Bojorquez’s signature. During his arrest interview, he never mentioned that he had received DACA status. However, even if Montes-Bojorquez had informed agents of his DACA status, he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the U.S. illegally.
So according to CBP, that first arrest that Bojorquez claims took place on Feb. 18th never happened. Bojorquez’ lawsuit claimed it did and was a violation of his DACA status. The judge in his case decided to expedite the trial and DHS agreed in September to let him return to the U.S. so he could testify. Then in October, he dropped the lawsuit. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
According to a motion for dismissal filed late Wednesday, the government resolved the records request by producing supplemental documents on Oct. 5, and Montes decided not to pursue his additional claims. A judge approved the motion on Thursday.
“Like all litigation, this case has been a taxing experience for Juan Manuel,” one of his attorneys, Nora Preciado of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement. “He has now asked us to dismiss his case. As his attorneys, we respect his wishes and have filed the papers on his behalf.”…
The Calexico Border Patrol chief said in a sworn affidavit there were other problems with Montes’ claims. The chief said there have been no repatriations after 10 p.m. this year, and that there were no agents working bicycle patrol the night in question.
So not only was there no evidence the Feb. 18th encounter ever happened, there was also testimony that it couldn’t have happened the way Bojorquez claimed it did. Now he has apparently come across the border again and could face up to 2 years in jail as well as another deportation.