SAN DIEGO (CN) – A deported Dreamer who claimed he was wrongfully removed by Border Patrol agents in the middle of the night voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit against the government Thursday, though questions remain as to what exactly happened to the 23-year-old immigrant.
Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, claimed in his April 18 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection he was wrongfully deported in the middle of the night on Feb. 18-19 in Calexico, California, about 120 miles east of San Diego.
Montes claimed his deportation violated his DACA status which allowed him to work and go to school in the United States, despite being brought to the United States as an undocumented immigrant when he was 9.
In his lawsuit, Montes claimed he was deported in the middle of the night without the benefit of an appearance before an immigration judge or assistance of counsel. He said he was not provided with any documentation or record of his removal.
He re-entered the United States the next day, but turned himself in when he saw Border Patrol agents. Montes was then deported Feb. 20 for what he claimed was the second time and immigration officials claim was the first time.
Montes sought records related to his deportation and had previously asked for an injunction, but U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel declined to rule on the motion outright, instead setting an expedited trial and injunction hearing for December.
According to the joint motion for dismissal filed late Wednesday, Border Patrol provided responsive documents to Montes’ FOIA requests Oct. 5, “resolving all claims regarding the FOIA dispute.”
The government had until Oct. 6 to produce documents pursuant to the FOIA request including surveillance footage, photographs, communications and documents from the Calexico Border Patrol Station the night Montes claimed he was arrested and deported.
It is not clear what information the documents produced contained, though Justice Department attorney Aaron Goldsmith had told Curiel at a hearing in August no documents could be produced related to Montes’ deportation the night of Feb. 18-19 because he was never deported and the documents do not exist.
Montes is represented by Los Angeles-based attorneys Monica Ramirez Almadani with Covington & Burling and Nora Preciado with National Immigration Law Center.
In a statement to Courthouse News, Preciado said: “Like all litigation, this case has been a taxing experience for Juan Manuel. He has now asked us to dismiss his case. As his attorneys, we respect his wishes and have filed the papers on his behalf."
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to an email request for comment.Follow @@BiancaDBruno
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