LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today said in statements to the media that Juan Manuel Montes, a young immigrant who was physically deported despite having permission to live and work in the U.S. temporarily under DACA, left the country without first making arrangements that would have preserved his DACA status. The agency took back its initial statement to media denying that Montes’s DACA status had been renewed before he encountered Border Patrol and was forcibly removed in February 2017.
Nora A. Preciado, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center and co-counsel on the case, issued the following statement:
“Juan Manuel has been unequivocal in his assertion that he never voluntarily left the country while he had DACA. We believe him. We filed a FOIA lawsuit to get answers. Rather than continue to provide half-truths and varying assertions, DHS should respond to our request for documentation. We will see them in court.”
Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney with Covington & Burling LLP in Los Angeles and co-counsel on the case, issued the following statement:
“The government is providing information to the press, but not to Juan Manuel and his attorneys. We know Juan Manuel was physically removed. We filed this lawsuit to find out how it happened.”