A former DACA recipient who had previously claimed he was wrongly deported was arrested on Monday night after attempting to illegally enter the US from Mexico, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, 23, was seen by Remote Video Surveillance Systems operators crossing the border a few miles east of Calexico, California, according to Border Patrol. The agency said he ran about 200 yards north of the border fence, laid down on the ground, and then stood up and ran again as agents approached him.
He was arrested and booked into the Imperial County Jail on pending charges of re-entry after removal, Customs and Border Protection said.
He was arrested under the same charge in February, CBP said, which was when Montes claimed he had been wrongfully deported.
“Our agents witnessed and arrested Mr. Bojorquez making an illegal entry into the United States for the second time this year,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim. “Border Patrol Agents will always stop, detain, and arrest anyone making an illegal entry into the country irrespective of their immigration or citizenship status.”
Montes’ earlier lawsuit had been a flashpoint in the Trump administration’s policies toward the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. The program, which began under former President Barack Obama, provides protections to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.
Advocates seized on Montes losing his protections and being deported as an example of the administration targeting DACA recipients, though Montes’ claims about being wrongfully deported have thus far been unsubstantiated.
In a lawsuit filed in April, Montes alleged that he was deported to Mexico in February despite having active DACA protections. However, the Department of Homeland Security argued that he lost his DACA protections when he voluntarily left the US at an earlier date without proper authorization.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and Montes’ lawsuit agree that he was arrested trying to re-enter the US in February. Montes had claimed in the lawsuit that he attempted to cross into the US because he was assaulted and feared for his life after being deported in the dead of night the day before. But there is no record of the earlier incident and CBP says it did not occur.
The lawsuit, brought under the Freedom of Information Act, touched on the larger question of the US government’s position on the nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants protected by the DACA program.
Several Democrats in Congress seized on the issue; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the report of Montes’ deportation “appalling.”
“Another promise cruelly broken by President Trump, this one with heartbreaking consequences for brave young DREAMers across the nation,” Pelosi said in a statement.
President Donald Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a prominent pillar of his presidency. The Trump administration formally announced the end of DACA in September, although Trump urged Congress to come up with a legislative solution by March.
Montes, who was represented by the National Immigration Law Center, dropped the lawsuit in October, according to federal court filings. The NILC no longer represents Montes.
Hayley Burgess, a spokeswoman for the National Immigration Law Center, said legal ethics prevented the group from commenting on his apprehension or the charges.