Category Archives: April 2017

Statement from Montes Attorneys on DHS Claim That Montes Voluntarily Abandoned His DACA Status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Statement from Montes Attorneys on DHS Claim That He Voluntarily Abandoned His DACA Status

LOS ANGELES — 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.”

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Deported DACA Recipient Sues Trump Administration for Unlawfully Withholding Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

Deported DACA Recipient Sues Trump Administration for Unlawfully Withholding Information

LOS ANGELES — A young immigrant who was physically deported despite having permission to live and work in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program filed a federal lawsuit today demanding that the federal government turn over key information about his sudden deportation.

Juan Manuel Montes, 23, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California after U.S. immigration officials failed to provide any documentation to explain the legal basis for sending him to Mexico, even after his legal counsel contacted Border Patrol and requested the information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Montes worked in California’s agricultural fields to help support his family and had studied welding at his local community college before he was detained by Border Patrol in Calexico, Calif., and then was swiftly sent to Mexico, in February 2017.

Montes is now fighting to understand what happened and to take the necessary steps to return to the U.S., his home since he was 9 years old.

“I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes said. “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.”

Montes, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child and has a cognitive disability, is believed to be the first-known DACA recipient with an active work permit to be physically deported by the Trump administration. He is represented by the National Immigration Law Center, Covington and Burling LLP, the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, and the Law Offices of Belinda Escobosa Helzer.

“Juan Manuel was funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why or how,” said Nora A. Preciado, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “The government shouldn’t treat anyone this way—much less someone who has DACA. No one should have to file a lawsuit to find out what happened to them.”

On the night of February 17, Montes was walking to a taxi station in Calexico, a border town, when a Border Patrol agent on a bicycle stopped him and asked for an identification. Montes had left his wallet in a friend’s car and did not have an identification on him.

Border Patrol then took him to a local station, where they made him sign documents without allowing him to see an immigration judge, seek counsel, or obtain copies of the documents he signed. Within hours, in the middle of the night, Montes was physically removed to Mexicali, Mexico.

“We look forward to presenting our case to the court, because our client has the right to know why and how he was physically removed from the United States when he had permission to live and work here,” said Mónica Ramírez Almadani, an attorney with Covington & Burling LLP in Los Angeles.

On March 15, with help from his attorneys, Montes filed a FOIA request with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), asking for all records of his interactions with the agency. CBP acknowledged receiving the request, but has not provided any additional information. Montes also sought additional information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and from the Calexico Port of Entry, to no avail. FOIA provides an agency with 20 business days to respond to a request for records. CBP and USCIS have failed to timely respond as required by law.

Announced by the Obama administration in June 2012, DACA allows eligible immigrant youth who were brought to the U.S. as children to live and work here temporarily. Montes was first approved for DACA in 2014 and successfully obtained a renewal in 2016. His DACA and work authorization were not set to expire until 2018.

Read the complaint here: www.nilc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/FOIA-Complaint-JMMB-2017-04-18.pdf.

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NILC Responds to Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2017

CONTACT
Juan Gastelum, media@nilc.org, 213-375-3149

NILC Responds to Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Senate today confirmed Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States. Gorsuch will take the seat left vacant since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings were marked by his refusal to address in any meaningful way basic questions about his record and ability to act independently of politics. When Republicans in the majority failed to secure the 60 votes previously required for confirmation, they chose to throw out longstanding Senate rules, lowering the threshold for confirmation to a simple majority.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is always a momentous occasion. Unfortunately for Judge Gorsuch, the shameful political maneuvering that secured his seat in the high court will forever mar his place in history.

“The extreme partisanship that led to Gorsuch’s confirmation is far from what the American people deserve from those they elected to make critical decisions that directly impact their well-being. The lack of transparency that marked Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings and the rule change made to accommodate his divisive ideology will undoubtedly have a lasting eroding effect on our democratic institutions.

“At a time when the importance of checks and balances to uphold the Constitution and our most sacred American values has never been clearer, Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation will go down as a failure of our democratic process.”

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