Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) says federal agents should not have carried out the first deportation of a “Dreamer” under President Trump’s tenure.
Juan Manuel Montes, who first arrived in the U.S. at age 9, is reportedly now in Mexico despite having active protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“If you came to this country when you were a young child and have DACA, then the United States is your home and you should not be deported,” Gutiérrez said in a statement Wednesday. "Juan Manuel came at age 9 and had DACA and should not have been deported at age 23."
DACA staves off deportation and provides work permits for qualifying people brought into the U.S. illegally as children. They are often labeled "Dreamers" in reference to the related DREAM Act.
Former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaCongress must delay ObamaCare's health insurance tax immediately Five things to watch in France's election Ex-Obama aide Rhodes: Le Pen victory in France would be 'devastating' MORE first implemented the program, which has grown to 750,000 participants, in June 2012.
Reports emerged Tuesday that Montes was deported from the U.S. following a Feb. 17 encounter with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent in Calexico, Calif.
Montes reportedly left his wallet in a friend’s car, leaving him unable to prove his DACA status.
Montes was reportedly deported to Mexico hours later, after agents told him he could not retrieve his documents.
Montes’s attorney said his DACA status was valid until 2018, though a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman claimed it had expired. But on Wednesday, the DHS told USA Today that Montes still had protected status until 2018.
Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsDNC chairman slams Sessions for deportation comments Trump: Mexico will 'eventually' pay for border wall Becerra fires back: 'We're not in the business of deportation' MORE said Wednesday that law enforcement officers are not specifically targeting people receiving DACA protections.
“Everybody in this country illegally is subject to being deported,” he said. “We are the most generous nation in the world, but we have got to restore lawfulness to the system.”