Flashback: Dreamer Sued Feds To Stay in US, but Look What Cops Caught Him Doing


This time last year Juan Manuel Montes was the liberal face for illegal immigrants.

A Mexican national who’d been brought to the United States as a child, he was a beneficiary of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He was also suing the U.S. government because he’d been deported after apparently slipping across the border into Mexico and getting caught trying to return.

Now, after getting caught a second time back in November, he’s facing two years in prison — and he’s become a living example of just how porous the southern border is.

With the anniversary of Montes’ story appearing in the news, the case is getting renewed attention on social media (Topher Spiro, vice president of the liberal Center for American Progress, apparently thought the incident was new). But even at more than a year old, it speaks to just how complicated the situation on the border is.

For starters, the circumstances that got Montes deported the first time remain murky.

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In April 2017, he told USA Today that he’d been picked up by Customs and Border Patrol agents the previous February because he didn’t have his wallet with him and couldn’t prove his identity or his DACA status.

Montes claimed Border Patrol agents forced him across the border into Mexico. He said he was caught trying to return.

However, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in November, “Border Patrol said there were no records of such an encounter with Montes that day and said he was lying.”

Montes, the Border Patrol maintains, crossed the border into Mexico of his own accord on that night in February, for reasons unknown.

Is prison the answer in a case like this?

Regardless, DACA recipients are unable to leave the country without risking the loss of their protected status. That meant Montes was sent to Mexico. From there, he filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for allegedly violating the DACA protections.

That, of course, made him a hero to illegal immigration liberals.

However, in October, Montes, who was still living in Mexico, dropped the lawsuit, The Union-Tribune reported. His attorneys maintained the effort had been too taxing on the 23-year-old, who, according to CNN, suffered traumatic brain injury as a child that resulted in cognitive impairment that has lasted into adulthood.

It’s possible that the lawsuit was too taxing. It’s also possible that Montes or his attorneys realized they didn’t have a chance of proving a case against the Trump administration and decided to drop the fight quietly.

Whatever the reason Montes gave up the legal fight, what is clear is that his next move was definitely illegal.

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He was arrested Nov. 6, according to The Union-Tribune, and the details of the story give a good picture of what guarding the border must be like:

“About 11:50 p.m. … Border Patrol agents got an alert from their remote video camera operators that someone had crossed the border about three miles east of downtown in Calexico, authorities said,” the paper reported.

“The person was seen running north from the fence for about 200 yards, then he sprawled on the ground. As agents approached he stood up and began to run away, but agents caught him.

“He was identified as Montes. He told agents he was headed to Sacramento.”

How many other would-be illegal immigrants have run “north from the fence” about midnight, only to disappear into the darkness? How many other times do Border Patrol agents have to approach a shadowy figured sprawled in concealment, not know if that person is armed and willing to use whatever weapon is available?

That’s exactly why President Donald Trump wants to construct a wall on the Mexican border.

According to a January report from the Texas Observer, Montes was denied bail at a November hearing and is facing two years in prison

Once he’s released, of course, he’ll be deported again. And if Democrats keep fighting Trump’s efforts to control illegal immigration into the United States, the conditions will be ripe for him to try to return again to the U.S. And the cycle could repeat.

There are a million stories like Montes’. Any one of them could be the face of an illegal immigration system that’s out of control.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.