Immigrant rights advocates and DREAMers across the country are closely watching the case of Juan Manuel Montes against the Trump administration.
The DREAMer, who was supposed to be protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, was deported to Mexico on February 17.
On Tuesday, April 18, Juan Manuel Montes sued the Trump administration.
In his lawsuit, the 23-year-old claims he was wrongly deported by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), who refused to give him a reason. Montes says he was questioned and within a matter of hours, he was sent across the border.
Montes was reportedly not given the chance to provide proof of his legal status.
The CBP cited his expired status as the reason for the Mexican native’s deportation.
“His DACA status expired in Aug. 2015 and he was notified at that time,” a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Fusion in a statement. “According to our records, his DACA status was not renewed.”
Montes’ attorneys refuted this claim by providing a copy of his work authorization card, which showed that he has DACA status until 2018, according to USA TODAY.
On Wednesday, April 19, DHS acknowledged their error.
Officials said the DREAMer was legally in the US, according to the Los Angeles Times. But they rejected his claim that he was deported on February 17. Instead, DHS say Montes left the US on his own. This would make him ineligible for DACA.
The DHS claims to only have record of his deportation on February 20.
According to Montes, after he was deported to Mexico on February 17, he attempted to return to the US. The DREAMer decided to climb over the border with a rope on February 19. He was taken into CBP custody again and deported for a second time the following day.
Montes says he told officials he was a DREAMer but DHS denies this. Even if Montes had said this, “he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the US illegally,” the DHS said in a statement, according to ABC News.