The two teenagers accused of raping a ninth-grader at Rockville High School last week were among tens of thousands of young people who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in 2016.
Jose Montano was searching for his uncle; Henry Sanchez Milian, for his dad.
Traveling separately, each was apprehended by federal border agents and targeted for deportation proceedings.
But after time in federal custody, each was allowed to join relatives in Maryland, two more individuals in a backlogged, secretive immigration system who would put down roots in this country long before their first day in court.
Last Thursday, Montano, 17, and Sanchez Milian, 18, allegedly took turns raping a 14-year-old girl in a high school bathroom. They have become the public face of an immigration debate raging in this country, fueled by President Trump’s rhetoric about “rapists” and “bad hombres.”