Deported Dad Gets Rare Chance To Re-Enter US For Custody Hearing

An immigrant deported to Mexico who is fighting to keep custody of his three children received permission to return to the United States to continue his court battle in North Carolina.

Since ICE, the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, is not generally known for its humanitarian actions, this is great news.

Felipe Bautista Montes was granted temporary permission to enter the U.S. so that he can attend a court hearing regarding his parental rights and the custody of his three young children.

Montes was deported from his North Carolina home nearly two years ago, following repeated stops for driving without a license. When he went to court to pay his fines, two ICE agents were waiting for him. They handcuffed him and transferred him to a detention center in Georgia, from where he was deported to Mexico on December 3, 2010, as his wife, a U.S. citizen, was expecting the couple’s third child.

Soon after Felipe’s deportation, Marie Montes lost custody of their children due to economic difficulties and a decline in her health. The state Division of Social Services placed the kids with foster families who are now seeking to adopt them.

Montes’s situation is not an isolated case, according to the Applied Research report “Shattered Families,” which shows that more than 5,000 children of deported or detained immigrant parents are currently in foster homes.

Following national and international media attention, the Mexican Consulate in North Carolina hired a private law firm to apply to ICE for what’s called Humanitarian Parole, or permission to enter the United States.

It worked! Last week, the Mr. Montes received a call telling him that he’d been granted permission to attend his custody hearing, and yesterday he walked out of the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, and made his way to Sparta. That’s the town where he lived for nearly a decade with his wife, where his kids were born, and where the children now live in foster homes.

From Colorlines:

“I didn’t believe it at first,” Montes told yesterday, shortly after his arrival in the U.S. “I didn’t really believe it until I got here.” Montes, who has been forced by ICE to wear an electronic ankle bracelet that tracks his movement, is required at intervals to check in with an ICE official in North Carolina.

ICE has rarely granted a permission like this one. A spokesperson wrote in an email to, “Under the authority of the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, ICE provides temporary parole on rare occasions involving urgent humanitarian or public interest needs. Each circumstance is considered on a case-by-case basis.”

“This is the first time in my 11 years here that we’ve been successful in bringing someone back on humanitarian parole through the same agency that deported them,” said Carlos Flores, the consul general of the Mexican Consulate for the Carolinas. “We’ve gotten people here for short periods who just need to come into the country, but never someone who’s been deported.”

Montes does not know when he will be allowed to see his children. For now, he waits for his hearing on August 10. “I want to make sure I do everything right here. My babies are the most important thing to me,” he tells Colorlines.

Children need all the love and support they can get to grow up in this world; it sounds like the Montes extended family in Mexico is ready to embrace and welcome these youngsters, and dad is obviously willing to fight hard for his children.

We wish him the very best.

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Photo Credit: thinkstock


Stanley B.
Stanley Balgobin5 years ago

"Deport all Hispanic Latino families illegal or not" true motto of the RMoney/Ryan ideology, The Right wing neo-con want all non-white poor immigrants out of America. Vote Obama back into office for sanity to prevail.

Lin Moy
Lin M5 years ago

This family has the right o be together. At least they are trying to do right.

James Wilcox
James Wilcox5 years ago

Jane: It's the father that doesn't have any rights. But when was the last time you saw a heading for "children's rights" here at Care2? Let alone "father's rights."

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

This is so wrong. He is the childrens biological father and wants to care for them. No matter what the reason was that they were taken from the mother, he has a right to them! They should be with him whether here in the U.S or in Mexico. These children should not be separated from both parents. They have rights too. They have the right to be with family.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L5 years ago

Since when does the USA take children from their rightful parents and adopt them out? This father and mother should have every right to have their children as any US citizen. This is the second case we have had in recent weeks on Care2, we need to petition the government to stop these strong-arm tactics with illegal parents or parent.

Seems to me the social services departments around our country need to be stripped of the authority to take children from CARING PARENTS, put in foster homes and then adopt them out These people don't need and should not have to endure their children being taking away from them; they need some temporary help to get through their crisis.. WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS DAMN IT.

Jenn C.
Jenn C5 years ago

Sounds like he was a repeat criminal before he was deported. The kids deserve better than that.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 years ago

Why did the woman who was an immigrant have her children taken from her and put in foster care? Does anyone remember that one not long ago?

Nance N.
Nance N5 years ago

Let him take the kids back to Mexico. Save a lot of problems.

Barbara Snowberger

Ideally, he should be given a sanctuary status of some sort; his wife is ill - shouldn't he be allowed to stay with her and his children, here? After all, his wife and the children are U.S. Citizens, and he was obviously a hard working family man before his traffic tickets ended up getting him into the hands of ICE. If she's ill, having her family back together could make all the difference We usually fall terrible short, when there is an uproar over immigration status, when the CHILDREN and their futures should come first. Those children wouldn't be better off with foster or adopted families - separated - knowing they have parents who DO really love them. They will become depressed and perhaps even hostile. This is another one of those instances when common sense and sensibility should trump Laws.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 5 years ago

Al long as he's a caring father, the kids should be with him.