Jose Montano and Henry Sanchez Milian are two teenagers accused of raping a ninth-grade girl at Rockville High School. Both have now been identified as among the tens of thousands of young persons who cross the U.S.-Mexican border illegally in 2016. They traveled separately, but were arrested by border patrol officers. They had been scheduled to face proceedings for their deportation.
 
However, after spending some time in federal custody, both of them were allowed to live with relatives in Maryland. Montano (17) and Sanchez Milian (18) are alleged to have gang raped a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom. The high school has since received bomb threats from persons demanding that illegal alien students be removed from the school.
 
Approximately 150,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, crossed the border over the last three years. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, noted that they are crowd area courts and public school, and said that they are enjoying "a kind of amnesty."
 
Advocates for immigrants, such as Kim Propeack of immigrant advocacy group Casa, remain unfazed. She told the Baltimore Sun that these “unaccompanied minors are overwhelmingly young people who are coming here fleeing horrific circumstances of violence in their countries." Local media say that the public outrage in Maryland is growing.
After Border agents released Montano and Sanchez Milian to Health and Human Services, they were given shelter until they were given over to guardians in Maryland. The pair were enrolled in public school, as required by federal law. They were taking classes designed for students who do not speak English.
 
While the Border Patrol had given them notices to appear in court,  Immigration and Customs Enforcement never filed charges against Sanchez Milian. Because he had no criminal record and had “no known gang affiliations,” he was not a priority for deportation. The agency would not comment on Montano because he is underage. However, he has been charged as an adult for rape.
 
 
Both of the teens are held now without bail bond and are charged each with a count of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sex offense. Prosecutors say the girl was forced into a boys' bathroom and raped. The victim cried in pain and told them over and over again to stop.
 
Attorney Andrew Jezic, who is of counsel to Sanchez Milian, said on that his client is not guilty and labeled the sex as  "consensual." Jezic claims that Sanchez Milian fled gangs in Guatemala and sought to improve his situation in the U.S. Montano’s neighbors say they cannot imagine that he would participate in such a violent crime.
 
Attorney Ron Gottlieb, an experienced public defender in Montgomery County, is defending Montano. Montano hails from El Salvador and was arrested in April 2016 at the age of 16.
 
Both he and Sanchez Milian were apprehended near McAllen, Texas, by Border patrol agents who detained them for less than the legal limit of 72 hours. They were surrendered to Health and Human Services' Office for Refugee Resettlement. Federal law dictates that such unaccompanied minors from Central America must be turned over to HHS in order to protect them from human trafficking and other dangers.
 
Speaking for ICE, Matthew Bourke retracted a previous statement to the effect that Sanchez Milian had been ordered to appear before an immigration judge. Bourke admitted that this was not accurate. He added that there are 500 similar cases for which ICE is responsible for in the Baltimore area alone. 


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

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