The two teenagers accused of raping a ninth-grader at Maryland’s Rockville High School last month were among more than 150,000 unaccompanied minors who entered the U.S. illegally over the past three years, mostly from Central America.
Like most other Central Americans who are under 18 years old and travel alone illegally to the U.S., the suspects, Jose Montano, now 17, and Henry Sanchez Milian, now 18, were placed briefly into federal custody upon making it across the border with Mexico. Officials then permitted them to join relatives in the interior of the country.
From there, Montano, living with his uncle, and Sanchez Milian, residing with his father, settled in the Maryland suburbs. They enrolled in a public high school—which like all public schools is required to admit illegal immigrants, due to a Supreme Court ruling—as they waited for their day in the country’s overburdened immigration court system.
Montano is originally from El Salvador and Sanchez Milian came from Guatemala. Both suspects say they are innocent of the charges against them.