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First DACA Recipient To Be Deported Sues Trump Administration

National Immigration Law Center

Every “Dreamer’s” worst nightmare under the Trump Administration has become a reality: A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient has been deported.

On February 17, 23-year-old DACA recipient Juan Manuel Montes was walking to a taxi stand after hanging out with his girlfriend in Calexico, CA when he was approached by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. The officer asked for ID, which Montes could not provide because, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), he left his wallet in a friend’s car.

Montes has been in the United States since he was 9 years old. According to his attorney, Montes has been granted protection from deportation under the DACA program twice and his status is valid until 2018.  Presumably because he couldn’t provide proof of his protected status, the CBP officer arrested Montes. Three hours later, he was deported to Mexicali, Mexico.

Wait, WHAT?! DACA recipients are not supposed to get deported. DACA was set up under the Obama Administration for qualifying immigrants that were brought into the country as young children to protect them from being deported and to allow them to apply for work permits.

Although Trump has made good on his campaign promise to ramp up efforts to deport the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, for a minute it seemed as though “Dreamers” would be spared. “They shouldn’t be worried.” Trump told ABC News in January, “I do have a big heart.”

And yet, Montes got deported in February and remains in Mexico. His story is just now getting coverage because on Tuesday he filed a federal lawsuit “demanding that the federal government turn over key information about his sudden deportation.” According to the complaint, Montes wasn’t given an explanation or any documentation as to why he was deported.

It comes as no surprise that Montes, who has spent most of his life in the U.S., wants to come back. “I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes stated. “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.”

For now he’s staying with an aunt and uncle in Mexico as he waits to see if he’ll be allowed back into the country where he grew up.

Find out more about Montes and what this could mean for other DACA recipients here.

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After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

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After Denying It, HUD Declares Federal Housing Administration Is No Longer Helping DACA Recipients With Housing Loans

In a blow to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says young undocumented immigrants will be ineligible for federally backed housing loans. The news comes after months of confusion about the policy for immigrants who were brought here as children. Back in April, Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson denied this at a congressional testimony but a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official said last week DACA recipients are indeed not eligible for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are intended to make homeownership more attainable for those with lower credit scores and incomes.

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“Because DACA does not confer lawful status, DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans,” Len Wolfson, a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) official, wrote in a letter to California Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar last Tuesday. “Determination of citizenship and immigration status is not the responsibility of HUD, and the Department relies on other government agencies for this information.”

The latest declaration is a reversal from HUD’s previous statements to questions about whether FHA is backing mortgages for DACA recipients. The Trump administration has been trying to rescind the Obama era policy but has been blocked by a federal judge from doing so.

“I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA mortgages,” Carson said at a congressional hearing in April. “I would simply say that I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or a potential immigrant to this country, and as long as you continue to follow the laws you will have my approval.

In the letter, Wolfson put the blame on the Obama administration for the policy and its regulations. He references former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s letter from 2012 that DACA “confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship” for recipients.

Even after Carson said that “plenty of DACA recipients” were receiving FHA-backed loans, lenders were being told to do the exact opposite.

Credit:@buzzfeednews/Twitter

According to Buzzfeed News, After Carson denied the notion that DACA recipients weren’t being approved for FHA loans, many reported that they were still being denied help.

“The explanation we received from HUD is inconsistent with the realities on the ground and statements made by Secretary Carson to members of the Appropriations Committee, and it does nothing to clarify the confusion created by the agency’s inconsistent policies,” Aguilar said in a statement to BuzzFeed News last Thursday.

The FHA has never stated that receiving a loan means requiring citizenship or lawful status.

Credit:@senjackyrosen

DACA recipients had previously never faced problems when applying for federally-backed housing assistance. FHA has also never had a clear policy that pertains to DACA recipients. According to the FHA’s single-family housing handbook, a housing guide the agency refers lenders to, notes that an Employment Authorization Document, which DACA recipients possess, is necessary “to substantiate work status” for noncitizens and qualifies them for such loans.

Under the Obama administration, HUD was supporting DACA borrowers under these circumstances. Yet the Trump administration has clearly enforced these guidelines differently.

“We know that DACA recipients have received these loans in the past, and it’s shameful that HUD is allowing the president’s anti-immigrant agenda to dictate housing policy,” Aguilar told Buzzfeed News.

This news comes out as the House Financial Services Committee last Wednesday passed a bill, Homeownership for DREAMers Act, that guarantees DACA recipients have the right to obtain federally backed mortgages.

This means recipients also can not be denied based on their immigration status. The bill is set to go to the House floor for approval, but many believe it’s unlikely the bill will pass the Republican-held Senate or be signed into law by the president.

READ: With Democrats Now In Charge Of The House, What Does That Mean For DACA Moving Forward?

Trump Needs Mexico To Agree To Be “Safe Third Country” So The US Doesn’t Have To Deal With Asylum Seekers

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Trump Needs Mexico To Agree To Be “Safe Third Country” So The US Doesn’t Have To Deal With Asylum Seekers

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Remember last week when President Donald Trump threatened Mexico with tariffs, and at the last minute, rescinded the threat? Trump said that if Mexico didn’t handle the immigration issue at the border — which is also a U.S. issue — that he would raise tariffs. Now we’re getting somewhat of what went down between Trump and Mexico.

Mexico will now be taking back more asylum seekers that are awaiting trial in the U.S.

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While the “Remain In Mexico” policy is something the Trump Administration recently implemented, the new agreement with Mexico seems that the government will be accepting and tracking the incoming undocumented people.

Luis Carlos Cano, a spokesman for Mexico’s national immigration agency in Ciudad Juarez, told Reuters that last week Mexico accepted 200, which is an increase from the 100 people that returned previously. The publication also reports that an estimated “12,000 people have been returned to Mexico since it began in January.”

Furthermore, Mexico said they have agreed to be a “safe third country.”

Credit: @TheToddSchutle / Twitter

At least that is, according to Trump. The publication states that “asylum seekers who first set foot on Mexican soil would have to apply for refugee status in Mexico instead of in the United States.”

Canada already has such a clause of being a “safe third country,” and the administration wants other countries to do that as well, including Guatemala.

However, just because a country is labeled as a “safe third country” doesn’t mean it is.

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Human Rights First, a civil rights organization, said in a statement that the Trump Administration is merely passing the buck to not deal with the state of immigration reform. They’re also dangerously allowing other countries to become “safe” places for people that they clearly show are not welcomed.

“Guatemala is not a safe country for refugees,” the organization stated. “It is a country that refugees are fleeing. The U.S. State Department’s own human rights reports reveal that rape, femicide, violence against women, trafficking in persons, violent attacks against LGBTI persons, and gang-recruitment of displaced children are all serious problems in Guatemala. Corruption and extortion are rampant, leaving many people unprotected by the police and other authorities. Refugees returned to Guatemala would not only face dangers in Guatemala, but they would be at grave risk of being sent back to their countries of persecution given the country’s lack of effective systems and capacity for identifying and protecting refugees from deportation.”

This new claim by the administration of a third party plan is just another tactic of not helping asylum seekers.

Recently, the Mexican government’s newly formed Nation Guard began patrolling their southern border.

According to several reports, a recent push by the Mexican government detained 791 migrants. The Central American migrants were found during an operation by the Mexican National Guard when they stopped four trucks in the state of Veracruz.

Mexico has recently stepped up their efforts to curb migration from Central America to the U.S. border by way of Mexico. The Trump administration claims that the response from Mexico comes from the tariff threat made by the president, which would have meant Americans paying more for goods in Mexico.

According to The New York Times, Mexico had agreed to the border enforcement months before Trump publicly threatened tariffs against Mexico. This means that Mexico was already enforcing border security before Trump appealed to his base with a false claim that his tariffs forced Mexico’s hand to enforce their border.

READ: Trump Terrifies Immigrant Community As He Demands To Keep Secret Why He Wants A Citizenship Question On The 2020 Census

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