First Known DREAMer Deported Under President Trump

Juan Manuel Montes was deported despite having protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. (Juan Gastelum/National Immigration Law Center)

SAN DIEGO -- A man has been sent to Mexico in what an advocacy group says is the first known deportation of someone who was part of a program to shield people who came to the U.S. as young children.

The National Immigration Law Center sued the federal government Tuesday in San Diego to obtain records on Juan Manuel Montes, who was detained by the Border Patrol in February in the border town of Calexico.

The group says the 23-year-old Montes had permission to work and live in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program introduced in 2012 under President Obama.

“I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” said Montes in a statement released by his lawyers. "I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again."

According to the PBS NewsHour, one day before Montes was detained by the Border Patrol, President Trump told reporters that his administration would address the issue with “great heart,” when asked by the NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins whether he planned to cut the DACA program.


“But the DACA situation is a very, very -- it’s a very difficult thing for me, because, you know, I love these kids,” he told reporters.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.