The California “Dreamer” deported earlier this year — contradicting a vow from President Trump to avoid action on immigrants protected under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — was not a harbinger of a broader policy change by the White House, the administration said Wednesday.
Juan Manuel Montes, 23, was arrested by Customs and Border Protection officers on Feb. 17 in Calexico, Calif., after he was on his way to take a taxi home from seeing a friend, according to a complaint filed this week, making him the first so-called “Dreamer” to be deported by Trump .
The situation raised concerns over whether Trump would make good on his promise to avoid deporting people in DACA, an Obama-era program that provided work permits to more than 750,000 people who entered the U.S. as minors.
Trump has repeatedly pledged to deport millions of undocumented immigrants — and signed a controversial executive order days into his presidency ramping up measures to carry out that promise — but also said he would take a “softer” approach toward people in the DACA program.
First ‘Dreamer’ protected by DACA deported to Mexico under Trump
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Montes’ situation was “being looked at” and there “there are some circumstances regarding that, that will need to come out or could be further looked into.”
“The President’s priorities on immigration have been very clearly laid out,” Spicer added during his daily briefing. “The focus has been on people who pose a threat to national security.”
Montes allegedly left his wallet in a friend’s car and was unable to provide proof of his DACA status to officers, according to the complaint.
USA Today reported that after Montes was released in Mexicali, he tried to return to the U.S. by climbing over the border wall where he was detained and deported again.
A CBP spokesman told the Daily News that Border Patrol agents arrested Montes “after illegally entering the U.S. by climbing over the fence in downtown Calexico” and that he “admitted under oath during the arrest interview that he had entered illegally.”
The spokesman added that Montes’ DACA expired in August 2015 and he was notified at the time.
However, the complaint states Montes renewed his DACA protection in January 2016, which extends to 2018.
Montes, who has lived in the U.S. since age 9, has been granted deportation protections twice under DACA.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said earlier Wednesday that “DACA enrollees are not being targeted” by immigration officials.
“II don’t know why this individual was picked up,” he said of Montes during an interview on Fox News Channel.
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