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Deported Army Vet Becomes US Citizen

Deported Army Vet Becomes US Citizen”

A deported Army veteran who was pardoned by Governor Jerry Brown previous year will now be allowed to become a US citizen.

Barajas burst into joyous tears seated on a couch in Tijuana on Thursday afternoon in front of a large USA flag as he read a document informing him that he would be sworn in as a citizen on April 13 in San Diego.

Erselius said Barajas' citizenship "gives hope to other veterans like himself who were deported but are still seeking to come home".

Barajas, a decorated veteran who received an honorable discharge after serving almost six years in the military, was given a full pardon last year by Gov. Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in San Diego, sat on the other side of Barajas, telling him that an ACLU attorney had already arranged how he would get back home.

He held a green card when he proudly served in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1995 until he was honorably discharged 2001.

Barajas struggled upon his re-entry to civilian life and entered a plea of no contest in 2002 to a charge of shooting at an occupied vehicle. After spending two years in prison and almost a year in detention, he was deported. "I put myself in that situation".

He got the news in what's known as the "Bunker", the headquarters of the Deported Veterans Support House he established in Tijuana for veterans like him. He said he did not apply for naturalization during his military service because Army recruiters misled him into believing he would automatically become a citizen after serving. They still have to fill out the paperwork and pass the tests.

As he worked to figure out a way to return to the US legally, he didn't hesitate to help others.

Moments after reading his letter, Barajas addressed other veterans. Jerry Brown for a conviction that led to his deportation. The ACLU has documented at least 239 cases of deported veterans living in 34 countries. He was still a permanent resident, and people with that status, veteran or not, can be deported for committing crimes or other violations.

In a separate Facebook video in English, Barajas thanked his supporters, including California Gov.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Fresno and National Park Service are hosting a citizenship ceremony. He applied for citizenship before receiving the pardon.

In the statement, Brown noted his work with deported vets and said he "has paid his debt to society and earned a full and unconditional pardon".

Barajas will be the second of the deported veterans pardoned by Gov.

Barajas, who has a middle-school-age daughter in the USA, struggled to re-enter civilian life.

"Hector, like a true soldier, has fought day in and day out since his deportation on behalf of deported veterans across the globe", said one of Barajas's attorneys, Jennie Pasquarella of the ACLU of California. His organization advocates for legislation prohibiting the deportation of USA veterans, but, while the issue persists, it seeks to improve the well-being of veterans not only in Tijuana but in other countries where they are deported.



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