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California Governor Jerry Brown's Pardon Changes Lives for Deported Veterans

Stephen Stock, Robert Campos and Mark Villarreal - NBC News
go to original
April 21, 2017

It’s never happened before – a military veteran deported from the United States – then later granted citizenship. But now, three U.S. military veterans are one step closer to doing just that.

Hector Barajas has been fighting to get back into the United States for more than ten years. Now, he’s one step closer to realizing his dream. He’s just received a pardon from Governor Jerry Brown that may change his life.

“I got it and I cried for like five minutes,” says Barajas. “I got a lifetime deportation so this may change the rest of my life. I have 20 or 30 years left. They are going to be in the United States you know where I travel to and fro and I can raise my daughter and I can work in the United States.”

See the Facebook video here:

Hector Barajas, a former U.S. military paratrooper born in Mexico and deported in 2004 for committing a crime, was granted a full pardon by Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown. He posted this video on Facebook reacting to the news.

Barajas was deported in 2004. It was a crushing blow for the decorated veteran. Just three years earlier he’d been honorably discharged from the military. He had been a paratrooper and served in the 82nd Airborne Division. But after his military career, Barajas couldn’t find his footing. He spiraled into drug addiction and crime. He was convicted of shooting a firearm in Compton, California, and sentenced to 13 months in prison. When he completed his sentence, he was told he was being sent back to Mexico. He hadn’t been to there since his family left the country when he was seven years old. When he tried to come back to the U.S., he got caught, and was given lifetime deportation.

Since then, he has started a Deported Veterans Service Center in Tijuana, Mexico. Barajas and the ACLU in Los Angeles have written a report that details the stories and statistics of hundreds of deported veterans. As of the last count, the number of deported vets was 315.

Read the rest at NBC News

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