SAN DIEGO (CN) – President Donald Trump hasn’t seen the last of the federal judge who oversaw the years-long Trump University class actions, as the judge has been assigned to the high-profile lawsuit filed this week by the first ‘dreamer’ deported by the Trump administration.
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel was thrust into then-presidential candidate Trump’s election campaign last summer when Trump said the Southern District of California judge could not fairly oversee the Trump University litigation because he is of Mexican descent, and Trump had made campaign pledges to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deport undocumented immigrants.
The judge was born in Indiana and spent years prosecuting drug-trafficking cases against Mexican cartel members as an assistant U.S. attorney.
Curiel approved the $25 million Trump University settlement last month, marking the end of the road for the case which was closely watched during Trump’s campaign bid. The president agreed to the settlement just days after he was elected and a week before the first trial against his former real estate school was set to begin.
But that isn’t the last Trump will see of Curiel, who’s been assigned to preside over a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Diego by 23-year-old Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez.
Montes who arrived in the United States as a child and was granted deferred action and employment authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
People who qualify for such protection are known as dreamers, a nod to the pursuit of the American Dream.
Montes has been granted DACA status twice, with his most recent status and work permit expiring in 2018.
The dreamer claims he was wrongfully deported twice in February from the border town of Calexico, California, and was not given a reason why.
He never saw an immigration judge or attorney prior to being deported in the middle of the night on Feb. 17-18, according to the lawsuit.
Montes was apprehended a second time on Feb. 20 while trying to cross the border after his initial deportation, according to his lawsuit. He claims he was again deported without being given any copies of the documents he was made to sign, and says he was not given any legal justification for his deportation despite his valid DACA status.
His lawsuit requests records related to his deportation, which Montes’ attorneys say Customs and Border Protection have failed to provide.
The Department of Homeland Security reversed course from initial statements it made when the case was filed. The agency said Tuesday that Montes had not renewed his DACA status in 2015 so he could work legally in the United States.
But on Wednesday, officials said Montes had in fact renewed his DACA status that year and it was eligible through 2018.
The agency dispute Montes had been deported more than once, though, suggesting he may have gone to Mexico on his own and was apprehended and deported while trying to re-enter the United States.
DACA rules prevent those protected under the law from leaving the country without advance permission from the government. If Montes had gone to Mexico on his own, that would have invalidated his DACA status, according to Homeland Security.
No court hearings have been set in the case.
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