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U.S. Military Veterans Being Deported Back to MexicoPosted: Updated: Apr 27, 2016 07:14 AM
TIJUANA, Mex. – A veteran who lived in southern California for most of his life was deported after suffering drug and alcohol problems.
Hector Barajas is now fighting to return back to the U.S. He came to the U.S. with a green card.
When he moved here at seven years old, he knew he wanted to be a soldier. However, toward the end of his service, he had problems with alcohol and drug abuse.
Barajas pled guilty to discharging a firearm in 2001 and was sentenced to three years and a half in prison.
"When I finished my time, I was supposed to parole," Barajas explained. "They said you might. They might put immigration hold 'cause you're not a citizen. I said, 'Wait a minute, I served in the military.' He's like, 'Don't worry, you served in the military. You'll be all right.'"
Instead, Barajas was deported back to Mexico.
A similar case happened in the Rio Grande Valley. In February, we told you about Iraq War veteran Gerardo Armijo. He was released from the Port Isabel Detention Center earlier this year after several drug convictions.
He could be deported but he's hoping to stay in Texas.
"We did what most Americans wouldn't do," Barajas said. "We put our lives on the line. I think it's unjust we've deported American veterans."
Barajas opened a shelter for deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico. Like him, all the veterans who come to the shelter served in the U.S. military and were deported.
He said dozens have visited the shelter.
"They had families at one point, they went overseas and risked their lives. They did that for their country. Now, the country is going to turn around and do this to them. It's a travesty," he said.
Barajas is hoping to change the law. In the meantime, the only way he and others can return to the U.S. is if they die.