Iowa Representative Steve King set off a social media firestorm when he posted a beer toast to United States Border Patrol agents after the deported the first known “Dreamer.” Illegal immigrants brought to America as children by their parents were immune from deportation during former President Barack Obama’s administration and are commonly referred to as Dreamers.
“First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you,” Steve King’s tweet said.
Juan Manuel Montes, the deported Dreamer, was sent back to his native Mexico by the Border Patrol. Montes was brought to the United States by his illegal alien parents when he was nine, USA Today reports. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed qualifying individuals to secure work permits and remain on American soil in spite of their illegal entry.
Obama launched the program during the summer of 2012. DACA currently has 750,000 participants, the Hill reports.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) April 18, 2017
Last week, the Iowa Congressman stated publicly he was “very disappointed” in the action President Donald Trump had taken thus far regarding DACA. Steve King wants the “Dream Act” reversed and noted the president vowed to do so while on the campaign trail.
“Every day they are complicit it is harder to resolve,” Representative King said. “Is [Trump] going to force us to go back to court again?”
Juan Montes was reportedly approached by a Border Patrol agent in Calexico, California, in February. The 23-year-old said the interaction with the federal agent ultimately resulted in his deportation to Mexico. The Dreamer claims he left his wallet in a friend’s vehicle and was therefore unable to show his DACA status ID card to the agent. Montes further alleges he suddenly found himself relocated to Mexico just a few hours later after not being permitted time to locate and retrieve the documents which are supposed to be carried with him at all times.
“Some people told me that they were going to deport me; others said nothing would happen. I thought that if I kept my nose clean nothing would happen,” Montes said.
Montes is currently residing with family members who live in the western region of the country.
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 19, 2017
Ann Naffier, the managing attorney for the Justice for Our Neighbors group, appears to have taken offense at Representative Steve King’s tweet.
“You know what? There’s only one valedictorian, so they can’t all be valedictorians. And some of them are very normal kids who have very normal problems that kids have, but they’re still good kids,” Naffier said.
Naffier, a DACA supporter, has worked in the immigration law field for more than 10 years. She told the Des Moines Register she is currently aware of at least two other cases where Dreamers were detained by Border Patrol agents in Iowa. Neither of the individuals were deported, according to the Justice for Our Neighbors attorney.
The Juan Montes case, and others like it, have churned up fear among both legal and illegal immigrants, Naffier claims. She said her clients should not be worried due to the deportation of Montes, but prepared to handle a similar situation if stopped by Border Patrol agents. The immigration attorney said mistakes do happen and the phone number of an attorney should be kept handy so the lawyer can be called quickly.
Steve King was elected to Congress in 2002, according to the House of Representatives website. He was a businessman and state official before winning the Iowa 5th District seat.
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