A 23-year-old man who sued the Trump administration over his deportation to Mexico but later dropped the suit was arrested early this week after illegally reentering the country for a second time, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Juan Manuel Montes-Bojorquez entered the country illegally about 3.5 miles east of downtown Calexico shortly before midnight Monday, according to a Border Patrol statement.
Border Patrol officials said Montes-Bojorquez ran about 600 feet north of the fence before Border Patrol agents caught up to him. The agency said that at one point the man lay on the ground, but then got up and fled as the agents approached him.
"After a brief foot chase, agents caught and detained the subject. The man was arrested and transported to the Calexico station for processing," the statement read.
Montes-Bojorquez made headlines when he was deported to Mexico on Feb. 19, making him the first person with protected status under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, to be deported under President Trump.
Montes-Bojorquez, who had been living in the U.S. since he was 9 and has a learning disability after suffering traumatic brain injury as a child, was thrust into the center of the heated debate on illegal immigration following his deportation.
In April, attorneys representing the young DACA recipient filed a lawsuit demanding that federal officials release information about why he was deported. Montes-Bojorquez said he had permission to live and work in the U.S. under the Obama-era immigration program that protected young people who were brought to the country illegally as children.
Montes-Bojorquez argued that he was approved for DACA in 2014 and that he had renewed his status in 2016, which wouldn't have expired until two years later.
At the time, the Department of Homeland Security said that Montes-Bojorquez's DACA status had expired and that the young man had voluntarily left the U.S. for Mexico, which would have made him ineligible for the DACA program.
In his lawsuit against Trump, Montes-Bojorquez said he was walking to a taxi station in the border town of Calexico after visiting with a friend when a Border Patrol official stopped him. He was detained when he failed to produce identification and was taken to a Border Patrol station, where he alleges in his lawsuit that he was forced to sign documents and was not allowed to see an immigration lawyer.
DHS officials later corrected themselves, saying that Montes-Bojorquez's DACA status had not expired, but they said because he had left the country, he was ineligible for the program.
Days after Montes-Bojorquez was deported, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said he was arrested after he illegally entered the U.S. by climbing the fence over downtown Calexico.
The arrest Monday made it the second time that Montes-Bojorquez attempted to reenter the U.S. illegally. He was arrested and placed in the Imperial County jail pending charges of reentry after removal.
"Border Patrol agents will always stop, detain and arrest anyone making an illegal entry into the country irrespective of their immigration or citizenship status," said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David S. Kim.
Under federal law, illegally reentering the U.S. after being deported is a felony offense punishable by a fine and up to two years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
Times staff writer Cindy Carcamo contributed to this report.
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