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Deported Veteran Becomes U.S. Citizen After 14 Years

An Army veteran was recently granted U.S. citizenship after being deported to Mexico in 2004.

Hector Barajas came to the United States from Mexico at the age of 7 and obtained a green card. He completed his schooling and then decided to join the U.S. Army shortly after. Barajas served from 1995 to 2001 as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division before he was honorably discharged.

Like many veterans, Barajas found the transition to civilian life challenging. He dealt with substance abuse issues and served two years in prison for shooting at an occupied vehicle. Upon release in 2004, Barajas was deported.

The struggle continued in Mexico as Barajas does not speak fluent Spanish and could not find adequate work. He returned to the United States, only to be deported again in 2010. Finding solace in his work at the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, he continued his fight to regain U.S. citizenship.

This hard work paid off as California Governor Jerry Brown pardoned Barajas’ 2002 conviction. As of March 2018, Hector Barajas was granted citizenship.

“I get to live the American Dream for a second time,” he said, “The citizenship only validates what I always thought in my heart: I’m an all-American patriot and I proudly served my adopted country as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. I believe I am no less of an American because of the mistakes I’ve made”

Although Barajas was given a second chance at citizenship, he is just scratching the surface. He continued, “my biggest dream is to see all my brothers and sisters go home to the country they were willing to die for. We must continue to fight to bring home our deported veterans…. Border or not, we will always be U.S. veterans; we are all Americans and I’m standing here today as an American citizen”

Source: Deported veteran becomes US citizen after California pardon

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