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First DREAMer With Protected Status Deported Under Trump

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
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Despite President Trump's pledge not to deport undocumented immigrants protected under under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a young man with DACA status has been deported to Mexico, reports USA Today. Juan Manuel Montes, 23, is the first known individual with DACA status to be deported under the Trump administration. Trump had previously told ABC News that DREAMers, as those with DACA status are known, "shouldn't be very worried" about deportation.

Montes has lived in the U.S. since he was nine years old. He was twice granted DACA status, and his status is valid until 2018. Montes was deported to his native Mexico on February 17 after being detained by Customs and Border Protection agents in a border town near San Diego. According to a lawsuit filed on his behalf, Montes "was approached by a CBP agent while he was walking down the street in Calexico, California on his way to take a taxi home after seeing a friend."

Montes suffers from a cognitive disability caused by an early childhood traumatic brain injury, studied welding at a local community community college, and has been employed as a farmworker for the past two years. He has four minor convictions, none of which are serious enough to disqualify him from DACA protections, according to USA Today. One conviction is for shoplifting from January 2016, and the other three are for driving without a license.

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At the time he was detained, Montes had left his wallet in a friend's car and—despite having valid DACA status—was unable to produce ID or proof of his DACA status. According to USA Today, he was removed to Mexico "within three hours."

"They detained me, they took me to a center, they asked me a lot of questions, and I signed a lot of papers," Montes told USA Today. A section from the lawsuit filed on his behalf further details his encounter with CBP:

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The Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest California-based immigrant rights organization, issued a statement Tuesday decrying Montes deportation and demanding his return. "We join others in demanding the immediate return of Juan Manuel Montes to his family and request a full account by DHS as to why the Trump Administration is terrorizing the very same group of people it said it would treat fairly and humanely," CHIRLA executive director Angelica Salas said in the statement.

"It is beyond the pale that border patrol officers are left to make decisions that impact people's lives and future with absolute impunity. ICE must be reigned in and stopped from grossly violating people's constitutional rights," Salas continued.

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DACA provides work authorization and temporary protection from deportation to approximately 750,000 young immigrants, according to KPCC.

When asked in January by ABC's David Muir whether those with DACA status should be worried about deportation, President Trump said, "They shouldn't be very worried. I do have a big heart. We're going to take care of everybody."