A federal judge is expected to order the first known deported DREAMer to be allowed to return to the U.S. to make his case about why he should be able to stay in the country.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, has said he wants a speedy trial for Juan Manuel Montes, the 23-year-old who was formally part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Montes was arrested by Border Patrol agents in February 2017 after he was caught illegally entering the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Lawyers for Montes allege that he was just trying to return to the U.S. after initially being wrongfully deported. Lawyers are scheduled to meet with Curiel Wednesday to discuss the upcoming trial.
Read on for a look at the case and what is being debated.
What happened, according to Montes?
Montes and his lawyers maintain that he was on his way home in Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 18 when he was stopped by a Border Patrol agent on a bike.
At the time, Montes was unable to provide proper identification so he was taken into custody and questioned by agents, he alleged. He was then driven to the border at midnight and told to walk to nearby Mexicali, Mexico without paperwork, Montes said.
Montes came to the U.S. as a child and is a DACA recipient, meaning he has some protections the Obama administration afforded to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
Because he came to the U.S. as a child, Montes is considered a DREAMer, protected under part of a law that shields certain underage people from deportation.
Montes admits that he was caught trying to enter the U.S. the next day by jumping the border fence in Calexico. Federal officials agree with that point in his testimony. He then was deported to Mexico.
“The government’s response to date has been woefully inadequate,” Mónica Ramírez Almadani, a Los Angeles-based attorney, said in a statement. “Their minimal responses have made only one thing clear: that Juan Manuel should never have been taken from his home in this manner.”