Showing posts with label deported veterans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label deported veterans. Show all posts

Saturday, September 7, 2019

After 2 tours of duty, veteran Marine faces death as detainee

'I refuse to die in here': the marine who survived two tours and is now fighting deportation

The Guardian
by Sam Levin in Adelanto, California
September 7, 2019

However bureaucratic challenges mean some immigrant service members don’t complete it, and under the Trump administration, a series of changes have made the process even harder. Some also mistakenly believe citizenship is automatic, advocates say. When immigrant veterans who haven’t been naturalized are convicted of certain felonies, they can then be deported.
Jose Segovia Benitez, a US Marine Corps veteran, is being detained in an Ice facility. Photograph: Damon Casarez/The Guardian

In his 21 months of detention, Jose Segovia Benitez says he’s been denied critical treatment for his PTSD and heart condition

Jose Segovia Benitez survived two tours of duty with the US Marine Corps, a bomb blast, and a traumatic brain injury.

But the US is not helping him recover. On the contrary, the government may be leading him to his death.

Segovia is currently imprisoned at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention center in Adelanto, California where he says he is being denied critical medical and mental health care. The 38-year-old veteran is facing deportation to El Salvador, a country he left when he was three years old and where his loved ones fear he could be killed.

“I’m not going to die here. I refuse to die here,” Segovia said on a recent morning, wearing a red jail uniform and seated in a cramped room with no windows to the outside.

During his 21 months of detention in the southern California facility, Ice has failed to provide adequate care for Segovia’s serious heart condition, denied him proper treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and repeatedly placed him in isolation, according to the former marine and his lawyers. The consequences, they fear, could be fatal.

Segovia is one of fifteen current detainees who filed a federal lawsuit against Ice last month alleging medical neglect and horrific conditions that rise to the level of “torture”. He is also one of the estimated thousands of veterans who have faced deportation over the years despite their service to the country.
read it here

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Deported veterans advocate to bring their ‘brothers’ home

On the campaign trail, deported veterans advocate to bring their ‘brothers’ home

Although the exact number is unknown, the American Civil Liberties Union has documented almost 250 cases of deported veterans living in 34 countries

The Nevada Independent
Michaela Chesin
July 28th, 2019

“We’re asking the presidential candidates if they’re willing to support the repatriation of the veterans they have been deporting and to stop the deportation of those who already have been deported,” Lopez explained.
Presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks to a large crowd of potential voters during a June campaign stop at the Doolittle Community Center in Las Vegas.

But her speech is interrupted by Las Vegas resident Cesar Lopez, who once lived in Harris’ home state of California. His voice grows louder from the middle of the crowd.
Veteran Cesar Lopez talks with presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris during a campaign event at the Doolittle Community Center in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 15, 2019. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent)

“We need someone who will bring our veterans back,” he shouts, before quickly explaining that several hundred deported veterans are unable to enter the country that they risked their lives defending. The crowd breaks into applause, and Lopez continues: “Are you going to bring them back?”

This isn’t his first stop on the campaign trail. Just this year, 45-year-old Lopez has approached Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Seth Moulton, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, ex-HUD Secretary Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. He usually starts by calling out to them from the crowd and then aims for a one-on-one conversation after the event. His goal is to hold them accountable to one promise: Bring his brothers home.
Although the exact number is unknown, the American Civil Liberties Union has documented almost 250 cases of deported veterans living in 34 countries. A study done by the ACLU highlights the lives and experiences of many of them. (People who aren’t United States citizens can enlist in the military, but they must have a permanent resident card, live in the United States and speak, read and write English fluently.)
read it here

Friday, December 14, 2018

Another deported veteran returned to be buried

In death, a deported veteran returns home to Texas

The Statesman 
By Jeremy Schwartz 
Posted Dec 12, 2018 

For nearly a decade, Carlos Jaime Torres dreamed of being allowed to return to the United States, the place he had called home since he was an infant and the nation he had served for four years during the Vietnam War.
Since his 2010 deportation after a conviction on marijuana possession and delivery charges, Torres had lived in a small, concrete home in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the border city of Reynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen. His cramped bedroom was decorated with photos from his time in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and a large black POW/MIA flag. He scraped by as a security guard, called his mother every morning at 8:30 and tried to avoid the violence that often erupted in the troubled city.

It never felt like home.

“I look American. I act American. I dress American. I am an American,” he said in a 2016 interview with the American-Statesman. “The hardest part is being told you’re not wanted.”

Torres, who died Saturday, returned to the United States this week, to be buried Thursday in the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission. He was 64.
read more here

In April it was Enrique Salas

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

DD214 said US Citizen, Vietnam Veteran was deported anyway?

One thing to keep in mind when you watch the video. Deported veterans committing suicide, are not counted at all...anywhere.

Busted with 267 pounds of pot and a DD214 that says ‘US citizen.' Should this Marine have been deported?
Military Times
By: Tara Copp
1 hour ago

At his 2002 deportation hearing, Martinez said the judge told him he had a case and could probably win, but he’d have to go back to jail to wait for a hearing, which might take two years. Martinez' other option was to be deported.

NUEVO PROGRESO, Mexico ― Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Jose Maria Martinez is not your typical deported immigrant.
In February 2002, five years after Jose Maria Martinez was sentenced to federal prison on drug charges, he was to be released. But immigration agents said his paperwork was incorrect. Two weeks later, he was deported. (Jillian Angeline and Tara Copp/Military Times)

First, he doesn’t want your sympathy. He was busted in 1997 at a South Texas border checkpoint with 267 pounds of marijuana in his car.

“I screwed up, it was bad. It was so bad it pisses me off sometimes,” Martinez said.

He’s an ardent Trump supporter and cheers at the thought of a wall. In our in-person encounter, he made clear that reporters, save for Fox, were purveyors of “fake news.” His personal views on former President Barack Obama landed him in Facebook jail. He takes a hard line on those who are in the U.S. illegally.

To the day he was deported, he thought he was a U.S. citizen.

It was February 2002. He’d just completed five years in federal prison for the drug bust. He’d served his time. Martinez was ready to be released, start over. Instead, immigration agents walked into his holding cell in Oakdale, Louisiana.

“They said they were going to deport me,” Martinez said.
“I took the oath in San Antonio and got on a plane to San Diego,” he said. He was assigned as an infantryman and mortar man and deployed in 1967 to Vietnam with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He and several other Marines started naturalization classes, Martinez said, but then they were pulled into operations.
read more here

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Deported Gulf War Marine Came Back in Casket

This deported Marine veteran came home the only way he could – in a casket
Fresno Bee
Carmen George
April 20, 2018

Veteran Lance Cpl. Enrique Salas' flag-draped casket was loaded into a hearse with a Marine Corps seal and two miniature American flags protruding from either window.
Salas finally made it home to the central San Joaquin Valley the only way he could.

The Persian Gulf War veteran, who was deported to Mexico in 2006, was buried with military honors in a Reedley cemetery on Friday beside his younger brother, another fallen Marine.

"My parents gave two of their children to the Marine Corps, and now they've lost both of us," Salas once told the American Civil Liberties Union for a report titled "Discharged, then Discarded: How U.S. veterans are banished by the country they swore to protect."
read more here

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Texas Veterans Want Answers on Veterans Being Deported

Texas man pleads the gov. to return deported brother, a Vietnam veteran
Oscar Margain
June 03, 2017

DONNA, Texas – It’s a debate over service and citizenship as several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus plan to visit deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday.
More military families on the Texas border want to tell their stories like that of one former U.S. soldier who’s spent the last 15 years banned from entering the country he once served.

“The focus of today’s meeting is to talk about our deported veterans,” U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela told a group of veterans gathered at an American Legion post in Donna, Texas.

A dozen or so war veterans attended the town hall to ask their congressman about the veteran benefits and citizenship.

“Veterans who serve our country honorably are being deported," exclaimed Legion Commander Felix Rodriguez. "That’s unacceptable!”

It was an emotional subject for the patriots in the room.

“Why is it that we don’t have a law that states that any veteran that serves and goes to war automatically becomes a citizen,” asked one Vietnam war veteran.

One man in this gathering isn’t a soldier, but came to fight for his half brother.
read more here

Thursday, April 27, 2017

California Trying to Help Deported Veterans

California lawmakers consider legal aid for deported vets
KPCC 89.3
Dorian Merina
April 27, 2017
"When someone is willing to die for this country and give us everything that they have ... we just thought it was time to figure out a way to get them back home." Gonzalez Fletcher
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Antonio Romo holds a picture of himself from his days at boot camp, as he stands next to the U.S. border wall on the beach in Tijuana, Mexico. Romo is one of dozens of U.S. military veterans who were deported after criminal convictions and have fought for years to be allowed to return. GREGORY BULL/AP
The California legislature is considering a bill that would provide state-funded legal aid to deported military veterans. It has drawn bipartisan support and is headed for a possible vote on the Assembly floor next week.

The measure, AB 386, would commit the State Department of Social Services to contract directly or indirectly with a nonprofit legal group to provide assistance to immigrant veterans with green cards who have been deported following an honorable discharge.

"It's very hard once you've been deported to go into immigration court and argue your case to come back," said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), the bill's author.
read more here

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Deported Veterans May Come Back to US After Pardon

CA governor's pardon could help 3 deported veterans return to US
By Nicole Chavez
April 16, 2017

(CNN)Hector Barajas is constantly dreaming about the day he'll return to the United States legally.
On the eve of Easter, California Gov. Jerry Brown granted Barajas and two other veterans full pardons for crimes they committed before being deported to Mexico.

Brown granted a total of 72 pardons and seven commutations Saturday.

A pardon is usually granted to individuals who have demonstrated "exemplary behavior and have lived productive and law-abiding lives following their conviction," the governor's office said in a statement.

The pardons could open a pathway for the men to come back to the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of California.

A veteran without US citizenship can be deported if convicted of various crimes. When the men's public records are cleared, an immigration judge could revisit their cases and halt their deportations, allowing them to return as lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders.

"Oh my God, this is huge. The process will be easier for me to go home to my family," Barajas said in a Facebook live video.
read more here

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Army Veteran With PTSD Faces Deportation?

ABC 7 News
By Evelyn Holmes
Thursday, November 24, 2016
"He offered his life for this country for this nation and he has a right to live in the country that he fought for," said Miguel Perez, Sr.
CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Army veteran who served two tours of duty could be deported as soon as next week.

On Thursday, his parents joined with members of Rainbow Push and called for help to keep their son here.

Miguel Perez, Sr., and his wife Espranza said they have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving although their son, Gulf War veteran Miguel Perez, Jr., could be deported soon.

"It's very hard for us," said Esperanza Perez, Miguel's mother.

Perez is one of the thousands of so-called green card soldiers, undocumented immigrant men and women who served in the American military, but still face deportation.

Relatives say the 36-year-old has lived in the Chicago area most of his life and is father to a 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son, who are both born U.S. citizens.

His family pleaded his case while attending the Rainbow Push Thanksgiving Day dinner for veterans, their families, the homeless and anyone else in need of a hot meal.
Miguel's parents said his troubles began after he returned home after completing two tours of duty overseas. They said after being diagnosed with PTSD, their son had a hard time finding a job.
read more here

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Deported Veterans Served US But Cannot Come Back Home

Rep. Gallego: Deported veterans served their country but they can't come home
The Republic

Daniel González
April 21, 2016

"These men and women who served our country, sacrificed time, sweat and blood for our country are told don’t come back until you are dead," said Gallego, an Iraq War veteran. "That is something we just cannot allow to happen."
Hector Barajas, 39, folds an American flag to be placed with the remains of a deported veteran who died in Mexico. The remains were allowed to be returned to the U.S. for burial. The flag presentation before Cesar Medrano (right)took Spc. Chaides' remains back to U.S. soil. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Cesar Medrano and Hector Barajas)

Legislation proposed to help some of the hundreds of soldiers convicted of crimes to return to this country

Sometimes, the only way a deported military veteran can get back into the United States is in a casket.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said these former soldiers, often convicted of crimes related to their service, are stripped of all their military benefits, except one: the right to be buried in a U.S. veterans cemetery.

He and other Democratic members of Congress are trying to change that for some deported vets.

Gallego introduced a bill Wednesday that asks the Department of Homeland Security to set up a process that would allow deported veterans who have not been convicted of felonies or serious misdemeanors to apply to return to the U.S. The legislation also would protect veterans not convicted of serious crimes from being deported in the future.
read more here

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vietnam Veteran, drafted, ditched and deported died

Vietnam vet dies abroad, deported from the country he served
Hector Barrios: “I think it’s unjust to deport someone who fought for her… the United States.”
UPI News
By JC Sevcik
April 25, 2014

TIJUANA, Mexico, April 25 (UPI) -- Hector Barrios died this week.

It’s okay if you’ve never heard of him. You have no reason to know who he is.

The short version: Hector was a decorated U.S. veteran who died abroad, impoverished and estranged from the country he loved and served, with none of the benefits entitled to him as a veteran.

Barrios was born in Tijuana, Mexico. In 1961, at the age of 18, he moved to the United States. In 1967, at the age of 24, he was drafted into the U.S. military to do his part for the war effort. He did not go back to Mexico or hide out in Canada. He did not dodge the draft or evade the call to duty. Hector spent a year in Vietnam, fighting for his adopted country.

“Every day incoming fire, everything, fighting -- you didn’t know if you were going to come back home,” he says in an interview taken before his death.
read more here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Suicidal Veteran Asks Police Negotiators to Speak With NBC 6's Willard Shepard

Suicidal Veteran Asks Police Negotiators to Speak With NBC 6's Willard Shepard
As police negotiators tried to keep a Vietnam veteran from jumping off a highway ledge Monday morning, the man told officers he wanted to speak with reporter Willard Shepard.
NBC 6 South Florida
By Alexandra Leon
Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013

A suicidal Vietnam veteran facing deportation straddled himself over a ledge on a South Florida highway ramp with a rope around his neck in an hours-long standoff before surrendering to authorities Monday morning.

As police negotiators tried to keep 59-year-old Fredy Gutierrez from jumping, the vet told officers he wanted to speak with NBC 6 reporter Willard Shepard, an Air Force officer who had been in combat over Iraq.

"As I was driving to the police command center this morning, I was able to communicate with Mr. Gutierrez through the police negotiator who had him on the phone," Shepard said. "It was very clear Gutierrez had reached a point where he couldn’t take it anymore and later said to me he prepared to die today."

Shepard said that he spoke to Gutierrez in military terms as he was on the phone with him, trying to make him see that taking his own life or harming other wouldn't improve his situation and would only make matters worse for his family.
read more here

Monday, November 11, 2013

Florida Vietnam Veteran facing deportation in custody after police standoff

Veteran in police custody after standoff on Florida Turnpike
Miami Herald
November 11, 2013
Davie police and the Broward County Sheriff's SWAT team assisted at the scene. Davie police said Guiterres, who served in Vietnam, was upset because he is facing deportation. His appeal is pending.

A military veteran who threatened to hurt himself brought traffic to a halt on the Interstate 595 and Florida Turnpike interchange Monday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol said negotiators were brought in to talk with 59-year-old Fredy Gutierres from Sunrise. Talks ended peacefully three hours later when the man was taken into custody.

Guiterres was spotted near a white panel van straddling the guard rail on the southbound Turnpike exit ramp to eastbound I-595. He had a sign on the van that read “HIPPOCRATE (sic) TRAITORS.” Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Wysocky said he had a rifle with an American flag on it leaning against the van.
read more here

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spike in deportations traps thousands of veterans

A permanent resident, veteran faces deportation
Michael Matza, Staff Writer
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013

Neuris Richard Feliz, 29, a former power-generation specialist for the U.S. Army, lives in a small apartment above a Lancaster storefront.

In the dining room sits his photo in green uniform, against the backdrop of an American flag. On a shelf, a horse-head profile on the yellow shield of his First Cavalry Division.

Buried in a closet are the pictures Feliz hides - corpses shredded by Iraqi roadside bombs; forward-operating-base ceremonies for fallen comrades whose lives were memorialized with Battlefield Crosses made from their helmets, boots, and rifles.

Now, almost a decade after a dangerous year under mortar fire, after receiving medals for "good conduct," "national defense service," and the "global war on terrorism," Feliz is to be deported for beating a man with an ax handle and serving three years in prison.
Their situation is part of a dramatic spike in deportations under President Obama - a record 1.5 million people in his first term. Estimates put the number of "banished vets" - barred permanently from the United States - at several hundred to around 3,000.

Their plight is hardly noticed in the brittle brawl over immigration reform, as politicians who defend our troops are less inclined to go to bat for them after convictions.
read more here

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vietnam Veteran Says Obama Ignoring Plight of Deported Heroes

Vet Says Obama Ignoring Plight of Deported Heroes
by Bryant Jordan
Jun 12, 2013

No one knows how many veterans have been deported because ICE does not track that information.
A Vietnam combat veteran who lives under threat of deportation criticized President Barack Obama on Tuesday for ignoring the plight of "banished" veterans while pushing for immigration reform for undocumented aliens in the U.S.

"I just think he will continue to ignore us," said Manuel Valenzuela, a Marine veteran. "We got a president that has no backbone. That's really unfortunate – a commander-in-chief with no backbone."

Obama, flanked by labor, business, and civic leaders, gathered in the East Room of the White House on Tuesday to promote the Dream Act, an immigration bill now before the Senate that would give a path to citizenship to people who were brought into the United States as children.
read more here

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Deported U.S. Veterans Create Art on Border Wall

Deported U.S. Veterans Create Art on Border Wall
El Tecolote
News Report
Laura Waxmann
Posted: Jun 05, 2013

Laura Waxmann/Deported Veterans in Mexico
Editor's Note: One of the amendments to the Senate's immigration reform bill (Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.) would allow DREAMers who enroll in the military to become U.S. citizens. But for veterans who already have been charged with a crime and deported, it may be too late. Now a group of deported vets is building a community, finding support, and creating their own mural on the U.S.-Mexico border.
When Alex Murillo was released at the U.S.-Mexico border right outside of Tijuana in 2011, he was given a little money, a cup of soup and was allowed to make a single phone call.

“They released me like a baboon into the wild,” said Murillo, 35.

His deportation was scheduled for noon, yet it was nearly midnight when he crossed into his country of birth and realized that he had nowhere to go.

The U.S. Navy veteran felt abandoned by the government for which he had risked his life for nearly four years, and that was now forcing him to leave behind his five children.

Murillo is one of thousands of veterans who have been charged with a crime and deported. There are no solid figures on how many veterans currently share Murillo’s predicament, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not provide numbers.

It is estimated that about 70,000 U.S. residents served in the U.S. military between 1999 and 2008. Deported veterans are not eligible for VA Benefits.

“The faces that are being deported aren’t just brown or Latino—they are deporting them all over the world,” said Amos Gregory, a San Francisco-based artist, activist and U.S. Navy veteran. “They are broke, in a foreign land, traumatized—and of course they have criminal records.”
read more here

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Disabled veteran's wife not wanted by country he risked life for 3 times

Disabled War Vet Fights New Battle: His Wife's Deportation
April 06, 2013

A disabled war veteran who deployed four times -- three times to Iraq and once to Korea -- and nearly lost his life serving the United States is now fighting a different battle altogether at home in Las Vegas.

James Courtney's wife, Sharon, is an undocumented Mexican immigrant who faces possible deportation. Sharon came to the United States from Juarez, Mexico, as a teenager and the two have been married for more than a dozen years. They have three young sons.

The couple recently joined immigration activists in Washington, D.C., to tell their story and urge lawmakers to take action to prevent the separation of families like theirs.

Sharon was awarded a one-year work visa in the early 2000s, then denied a green card based on a false claim of citizenship.

But James, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during his second deployment to Iraq that resulted in short-term memory loss and other difficulties, disputes that claim and said it has been "the kiss of death."
read more here

Thursday, February 21, 2013

US veterans being deported finally being addressed

Bill Would Slow U.S. Veteran Deportations
Feb 21, 2013
by Bryant Jordan

A California congressman plans to file new legislation to make it more difficult to deport U.S. military veterans who are not citizens.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., previously filed the bill in December 2011 but it died in committee.

The bill will not help veterans who have already been booted from the country, but it will ensure due process and require the authorization of the Secretary of Homeland Security before vets could be deported.

Now, according to attorneys and advocates for deported veterans, immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are able to boot veterans from the U.S. with the minimal amount of process even over questionable cases sometimes many years old.

Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney in Alaska and an Army Reserve officer, said immigration officials are very aggressive in trying to deport people, regardless of their veteran’s status.

She said that in some cases job performances are based on the numbers you rack up, giving agents more incentive to make cases. read more here

Monday, January 7, 2013

Deported Vets Eligible for VA Healthcare, GI Bill

Deported Vets Eligible for VA Healthcare, GI Bill
Jan 07, 2013
by Bryant Jordan

There is irony and tragedy in the death in Mexico last year of 55-year-old U.S. Army veteran Manuel de Jesus Castano.

The irony is that Castano, a life-long legal U.S. resident deported for a past criminal conviction that had nothing to do with his Army service, was allowed into the U.S. for burial -- with full military honors -- at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was, as far as his family knew, the last and only veteran’s benefit he was entitled to.

Deported in 2011 from El Paso, Texas, where he was getting healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Lupus and Lou Gehrig’s disease, his conditioned worsened, according to his nephew. He died last June following a heart attack.

The tragedy is that Castano, his family and his supporters -- including other “banished veterans” forced to live outside the U.S. -- never knew that he was entitled to VA healthcare, including medications, regardless of his deported status.

VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda told that a deported veteran who already has VA healthcare can use the VA’s Foreign Medical Program, which is set up for veterans traveling or living overseas. Under the program, the VA assumes responsibility for necessary medical services related to a veteran’s service-connected medical conditions.

The same program can be used by vets submitted a claim and requiring evaluations and physicals, she said.

Even education benefits remain available.

“Veterans who are eligible for education benefits and have been deported may use their benefits to attend school outside of the U.S. as long as they enroll in a VA approved program,” she said. The VA’s Weams Institution Search website lets veterans find approved schools and universities both within the U.S. and overseas.
read more here