Miguel Perez Jr., a decorated Afghanistan war veteran with a green card, may be deported to his native Mexico even after serving in the U.S. Army. He was convicted of a Felony Drug offense, but did not follow through with his citizenship. He appeared before Judge Robin Rosche in Chicago on Feb 7, asking not to be deported.
This article has been corrected to note that Perez was a two tour Afghanistan veteran, not Iraq.
His attorneys sought relief from deportation under the United Nations Convention against Torture, which is akin to asylum. Drug cartels do frequently target military members, particularly American ones. The prosecution didn’t buy that defense. The judge is currently weighing her decision.
Perez joined the Army in 2001. He thought that when he swore the oath to America, he had become a citizen. But that has never been an automatic situation, and he says his superiors never advised him of the rules. The rules for becoming a US Citizen are much easier with Military service, just not automatic. You can read those rules here: How to Get Citizenship Through Military Service.
ICE has a standard procedure for non-citizens who commit crimes- after they serve their sentence, they are deported.
Perez says he is afraid of going back to Mexico due to his tattoos and mannerisms. He also says the United States is still his country regardless of the outcome.
“It’s not what I think would happen to me. It’s what I know. It’s not like I can … fit in and blend in. It just doesn’t work that way. How long can I hide the fact I’ve been deported and I was in the military?
This is the same as somebody fighting a life sentence. The outcome of this determines the rest of my life spent away from my society, my way of life, my loved ones and not to mention, my country. … This is my country regardless of what happens here.” Miguel Perez Jr
The problem of immigration is a sticky one, especially when it comes to US military veterans when they have served America honorably and then committed a crime. There are literally hundreds of veterans who have been deported to Mexico for one reason or another. As he mentioned, it is dangerous for them.
“This one is hard to swallow. I am 110% for deporting illegals, but honestly his crime is committed by our government and CIA on a much higher scale. So in this sense, I don’t agree with him being deported. He served his country and that counts for something. If his crimes would have been of a different level then maybe I would agree. As a legal Latino immigrant and Marine Veteran, I disagree with the way this was handled. We have Democrat politicians breaking the law in America who have their whole family here illegally and they get to flaunt their crimes on national TV for the public to see. This is not ok.”
US Marine Veteran/Communist Survivor
Back in April 2016, we wrote about Daniel Torres, who finally received his citizenship after being convicted of using a fake birth certificate to join the Marine Corps. He had to stay at the Deported Veteran’s Bunker, a place in Mexico where other deported veterans live together.
You can read his story here: