Juan Manuel Montes, 23, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Tuesday. The case of the so-called DREAMer has been assigned to District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, the very same judge singled out by presidential candidate Donald Trump last year for his "Mexican heritage"  in a case involving Trump University. Plaintiff Montes contends that the federal government did not provide sufficient documentation to explain the legality of his deportation back to Mexico. Montes had lived in the United States since the age of nine year. Because of Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, Montes -- like thousands of others -- avoided deportation because they came as children.
 
Montes is seeking documents related to his case.
 
Montes’ attorneys claimed that he was stopped by a law enforcement officer after leaving a friend's house in Calexico, California. At approximately 10 p.m. on February 17, Montes had left his wallet and identification in his friend's car and was refused permission to retrieve them. He was questioned and told to sign documents before being deported to Mexicali, Mexico. According to the lawsuit, Montes was assaulted in a robbery attempt while visiting Mexico and, fearing for his life, returned to the U.S. The lawsuit alleges that he turned himself in to border officers, but was then arrested and returned to Mexico.
 
On April 19, acknowledged that Montes had been approved for DACA through January 25, 2018. This contradicted an earlier DHS statement that said his DACA status expired two years ago. DHS says that Montes "lost his DACA status when he left the United States without advance parole on an unknown date prior to his arrest" by the border patrol on February 19. The agency claimed that Montes admitted to illegal entry into the country and never mentioned his DACA status. But even had he done so, DHS says he violated the continuous residency condition of the program and entered the United States illegally. 
 
DACA gives participants a path to permanent residency but must be renewed every two years. More than 770,000 people have been granted DACA permits under the program since 2012. About 1,500 recipients have lost DACA status because of a criminal conviction or gang affiliation. 


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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