Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mexico. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Some Republican Senators Standing Up For Troops Against Trump's Wall...finally

Senate to vote on ending border emergency that diverted DoD funds

Military Times
By: Joe Gould
1 hour ago

“Now we have a whole number of Republicans who voted with the president who see their military bases being ransacked, pillaged,” Schumer said Tuesday. “I don’t think anyone, no matter what state they are from, will want to see money being taken away from their military installations, [which is] very much needed.”

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he visits a new section of the border wall with Mexico in Calexico, Calif., on April 5, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
WASHINGTON ― Republicans will be “forced” to vote as soon as Wednesday whether to end the president’s emergency diversion of military funding to his border wall, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Schumer and other Democrats turned up the pressure on their GOP colleagues months after 12 Senate Republicans voted to end the emergency declaration and the House failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto.

The decision to force a second vote comes after the Pentagon released the list of 127 projects in 23 states and 19 allied countries that were deferred by the administration to devote $3.6 billion to the border wall.
read it here

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Over 100 military construction projects on hold to fund Trump's Wall?

update Fort Bragg among N.C. military bases to take $80M hit to fund Trump’s border wall

North Carolina’s military bases will lose about $80 million in planned military construction, according to a list released by the Pentagon on Wednesday of projects across the United States losing funding to build President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The affected projects in North Carolina include $40 million for a new battalion complex and ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune, a previously canceled $32.9 million elementary school at Fort Bragg, and a $6.4 million storage facility for the new KC-46 tanker at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Those projects join cuts at a Florida base nearly destroyed by last year’s hurricane season, a new middle school for Kentucky’s Fort Campbell and a new fire station for a Marine Corps base in South Carolina.

UPDATE Tarps from Florence are still on roofs of hundreds of buildings at Lejeune, New River as Hurricane Dorian arrives

Fahy said following Florence, 345 buildings needed tarps on them. But he said that the Marine bases have made some progress with regards to roof repairs, with many buildings slated to get metal roof replacements. With a nearly $3.6 billion price tag in damages from Florence, the Corps is worried about the additional destruction that may come with Hurricane Dorian.

Maj. Gen. Julian D. Alford, the commander of Marine Corps Installations East, posted on the Camp Lejeune Facebook page that “many of the buildings on our installations are still undergoing repairs and are vulnerable to leaks.”
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More than 100 military construction projects could be put on hold to free up funds for a US-Mexico border wall

Military Times
By: Meghann Myers
Septamber 3, 2019
The funding comes from $1.8 billion each in funds designated for domestic and overseas projects, McCusker said. The 127 projects targeted are not canceled, she added, and are not necessarily going to be put on hold.
The Army Corps of Engineers is slated to replace, or build new barriers, in 11 places along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Dave Palmer/Army Corps of Engineers)
The Pentagon is prepared to fund 175 miles of border wall construction, Pentagon officials said Tuesday, using $3.6 billion in military construction funds that had been designated for 127 projects over the next year.

Officials declined to release a full list of the affected projects until the Pentagon has finished notifying the lawmakers who oversee the districts where they are planned, but said that family housing, barracks or projects that have had contracts awarded or are expected to be awarded in fiscal year 2020 will not be affected.
About 3,000 active duty and 2,000 National Guard troops are currently deployed to the southwestern border helping the Homeland Security Department with surveillance, detention of migrants and processing asylum requests.
read it here
Now you know who is paying for Trump's Wall! It isn't shocker there.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Coast Guard, FEMA and TSA budgets hit for Trump's wall during hurricane season?

Homeland Security raids Coast Guard coffers to pay for border programs

The Associated Press
By: Colleen Long
August 27, 2019
"Taking money away from TSA and from FEMA in the middle of hurricane season could have deadly consequences." House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson

Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Puerto Rico personnel attach hurricane shutters on Monday in preparation for Tropical Storm Dorian. (Ricardo Castrodad/Coast Guard)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security is moving $271 million from other agencies such as FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard to increase the number of beds for detained immigrants and support its policy forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases play out.

The news comes as hurricane season is ramping up and Tropical Storm Dorian is heading toward Puerto Rico.

The sprawling 240,000-person Homeland Security Department includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in addition to immigration agencies.

It is not uncommon for unassigned funds to be transferred between agencies under the same department as the fiscal year ends. Last year around the same time, about $200 million was transferred, including $10 million from FEMA that prompted major criticism from Democrats.

Homeland Security officials said in a statement Tuesday they would transfer $155 million to create temporary facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border for holding hearings with the aim of moving asylum cases through the system faster.
read it here

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Soldiers Died by Suicide at Arizona-Mexico Border

Official: Soldiers Died by Suicide at Arizona-Mexico Border

The Associated Press
28 Jun 2019
Officials say 20-year-old Pfc. Steven Hodges of Menifee, California, died June 1 near Nogales, and 21-year-old Pfc. Kevin Christian of Haslet, Texas, died Sunday in Ajo, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Nogales.

TUCSON, Ariz. — A medical examiner says two soldiers helping secure the Mexico border in Arizona died by suicide.

Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Greg Hess said Thursday the soldiers died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
read more here

Saturday, May 11, 2019

At 35, Army Reservist... finally a soldier

He couldn't enlist after 9/11 because he was undocumented. At 35, he just finished boot camp

CBS News
MAY 10, 2019
Vargas' enlistment in the Army Reserve marked the culmination of a remarkable, nearly two-decades-long journey from undocumented immigrant to trail-blazing attorney and activist. It also served as a stark reminder that the country Vargas has fought so hard to serve in uniform is still leaving many — including his family — in the shadows.
Specialist Cesar Vargas, 35, a former undocumented immigrant, graduated from basic training in late April after unsuccessfully trying to enlist for nearly two decades. CAMILO MONTOYA-GALVEZ
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. — One by one, the young soldiers stepped forward methodically, announcing their rank, last name and hometown.

By the time it was Cesar Vargas' turn, his brothers and sisters in arms in Charlie Company had mapped out locations across the U.S. and around the world — from Omaha, Nebraska and Brooklyn, to West Africa's Burkina Faso and Lima, Peru.

"Puebla, Mexico!" the 35-year-old Vargas shouted, stepping in front of his comrades, many of whom had recently graduated from high school.

The stark age difference between him and the other boot camp graduates was not lost on Vargas, now a specialist in the Army Reserve. Since he was a teenager, he's been trying to join the armed forces. "After 9/11 — as a New Yorker — I took it very personally," he told CBS News. "And while many of my friends were trying to enlist, I couldn't because of my immigration status."
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Friday, December 21, 2018

So happy to see this Congress on their way out!

Two headlines that make disabled veterans aware of what they mean to this congress.

House Republicans approve bill to fund border wall, setting up a final showdown in the Senate

The final tally was 217-185, with eight Republicans voting against the package, which includes $5.7 billion to construct a border wall, $7.8 billion for disaster relief and would fund the government until Feb. 8.
read the rest here

Group urges White House, VA to reject resurfaced proposal cutting disabled, unemployed veterans' benefits

The report suggests removing approximately 235,000 disabled veterans from a Department of Veterans Affairs program called Individual Unemployability in 2020, projecting it could save $47.6 billion in the next 10 years. Veterans removed from the program would see their monthly incomes decrease by an average of $1,300, according to CBO estimates.
read more of this here
Yes, they found all that money to pay for a wall, at the same time they want to destroy the bridge that senior disabled veterans need to survive.

They want to take away the permanent and total meaning and turn it into proof we cannot trust the debt owed to our families to be paid ALL THE TIME UNTIL WE DIE OFF!

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

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

Sunday, November 1, 2015

USS Sgt. Rafael Peralta Destroyer

Mother of Marine christens Navy destroyer bearing her son's name 
Associated Press
Oct. 31, 2015

BATH, Maine (AP) — First in English, then in Spanish, the mother of a fallen Marine who shielded his comrades from an insurgent's grenade christened a new Navy destroyer in his honor.
Rosa Peralta smashes a bottle of champagne to christen the USS Raphael Peralta, the 35th Arleigh Burke Class Missile Destroyer to be built by Bath Iron Works, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Bath, Maine. The warship is named for Rosa Peralta's son, Sgt. Raphael Peralta, who was killed in action on Nov. 15, 2004, while clearing houses in the city of Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Al Fajr. Frederick J. Harris, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, at left, and Rosa Peralta's daughter, Icela Peralta Donald, center, and son, Ricardo Peralta, join her on the platform.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Rosa Peralta asked God to bless the ship named for her son, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, and to keep the crew safe before smashing a bottle of Champagne on the ship's bow Saturday.

The ceremony at Bath Iron Works to christen the future USS Rafael Peralta paid homage to the slain Marine, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of a country to which he emigrated as a boy. He is believed to be the first serviceman born in Mexico to have a naval warship named in his honor.

Peralta was denied the Medal of Honor but awarded the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor, after former Defense Secretary Robert Gates ruled the Marine lost consciousness after he was mortally wounded and his body smothered a grenade in Iraq in 2004, saving other lives. But the prevailing belief among the military is that Peralta pulled the grenade against his body to protect his fellow Marines during close combat with insurgents in Fallujah on Nov. 15 that year.

"He believed more about the goodness of America than most Americans, to the point of fighting and sacrificing everything for what America stands for," Gen. Robert Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, said as he quoted from Peralta's former commanding officer from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, the Hawaii-based "Lava Dogs."
read more here

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mexico Released Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi

U.S. Marine Tahmooressi Released From Mexican Jail
Mexico orders immediate release of Marine veteran
Associated Press
November 1, 2014

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Mexican judge ordered the immediate release of a jailed U.S. Marine veteran who spent eight months behind bars for crossing the border with loaded guns.

The judge on Friday called for retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi (Tah-mor-EE-si) to be freed because of his mental state and did not make a determination on the illegal arms charges against the Afghanistan veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a Mexican official who had knowledge of the ruling but was not authorized to give his name.

Tahmooressi has said he took a wrong turn on a California freeway that funneled him into a Tijuana port of entry with no way to turn back. His detention brought calls for his freedom from U.S. politicians, veterans groups and social media campaigns.

"It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail," the family said in a statement.

U.S. Republican and Democratic politicians had held talks with Mexican authorities to urge his release. A U.S. congressional committee also held a public hearing to pressure Mexico to free him.
read more here

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mexican Court to Consider Marine's PTSD on Gun Charges

Psychiatrist to examine Andrew Tahmooressi to determine whether he has PTSD
FOX News
By Dan Gallo
Published September 29, 2014

The trial of former Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on gun charges in Mexico will take a new turn this week, one that will move the focus to the defendant's health.

A prosecution psychiatrist will be sworn in at Tijuana federal court Monday, empowering him to interview Tahmooressi to determine whether he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

After being sworn in, the psychiatrist is expected to travel to the Tecate prison where Tahmooressi has been held for the last 6 months so he can make his own conclusions about whether Tahmooressi suffers from PTSD.

Tahmooressi attorney Fernando Benitez tells Fox News that the psychiatrist could interview Tahmooressi either on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. Benitez is optimistic that the psychiatrist will come to the same conclusion that the defense has: That Tahmooressi suffers from PTSD and cannot receive treatment for it in Mexico.

“There's no scientific way for him not to concur,” Benitez said Sunday. “He would have to find a completely different person to diverge from that diagnosis.”
read more here

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Marine held in Mexican Jail Finally Gets Hearing

Hearing for Marine jailed in Mexico to feature surveillance video
FOX News
By Dan Gallo
Published September 04, 2014

Next week’s court appearance by a U.S. Marine imprisoned in Mexico could turn into a video viewing marathon.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held since March 31, when he says he mistakenly crossed into Mexico with three legally-purchased and registered guns in his truck, will be in a Tijuana courtroom on Tuesday, where a judge, prosecutors and his lawyer will view surveillance video made at the border the night he was arrested.

With 90-minute footage from 18 different cameras in evidence, the session could prove lengthy, Tahmooressi’s attorney, Fernando Benitez, told Fox News. What has Benitez most curious is the fact that Mexican Customs officials dragged their feet in turning over the video, to the point that Judge Victor Octavio Luna Escobedo had to order them to comply.
Benitez will also eventually present a report from a psychiatric expert who will focus on Tahmooressi’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a result of two combat tours in Afghanistan. Benitez believes that Tahmooressi cannot receive PTSD treatment in Mexico and an eventual prison sentence would be inconsistent with the country’s policy of providing rehabilitation to prisoners.
read more here

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Story of Marine held in Mexico got stranger

Marine admits being in Mexico before arrest
Sergeant has been under arrest since late March
By Ray Sanchez CNN
Jun 06, 2014

A U.S. Marine sergeant jailed in Mexico since late March for crossing the border with several guns in his car said Friday that he had walked across the border on foot and stayed at a Tijuana hotel earlier on the day of his arrest.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who also said he attempted suicide while being abused by his Mexican jailers, has maintained that he took a wrong turn on the California side of the border, his vehicle carrying firearms he said he legally owns but are unlawful to bring into Mexico.

"I stayed in a hotel earlier in the day," Tahmooressi said Friday in an interview with CNN's "New Day."

"I parked my truck at a parking lot on the American side ... and I walk into Mexico with a backpack with extra clothes and hygiene supplies, passport, wallet. And I decide to go hang out in Mexico for some good Mexican food, inexpensive place to stay and to hang out."

Asked about Mexican media reports that he had crossed the border into Mexico several times before his March 31 arrest, Tahmooressi told CNN in a telephone interview from La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana that he had previously traveled there four times "just to hang out."

He denied crossing the border with the intent of trafficking arms. He had an AR-15 rifle, a .45-caliber pistol and a 12-gauge pump shotgun in his truck.
read more here

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Florida Marine with PTSD held shackled in Mexican jail

American Marine Chained In Mexican Jail Is Unshackled But Remains Behind Bars
U.S. Marine Detained in Mexico Prison on Weapons Charge
Congressman asks Defense Secretary to help in Marine's release, fears for his safety in Mexican custody
NBC News
By Brian Hamacher, R. Stickney and Monica Garske
Saturday, May 3, 2014

Congressional leaders, including U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, are pushing for the release of a U.S. Marine veteran who was detained in Mexico last month for bringing outlawed weapons into the country.

Marine Reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, of Weston, Fla., was arrested April 1 after driving his black Ford pickup into Tijuana at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, near south San Diego.

Tahmooressi, who was in possession of three U.S.-registered firearms, got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico, his family said.

Now Tahmooressi, who was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, is shackled to a cot with his limbs restrained following an escape attempt at the La Mesa penitentiary, his mother, Jill Tahmooressi, told NBC Miami.

On Friday, Congressman Hunter sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to “secure Andrew’s release,” saying it’s “critical” that the Marine be released as soon as possible.
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

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