A Chicago community is coming together to fight a deportation order issued for a former U.S. soldier who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Army Private 1st class Miguel Perez, Jr., was born in Mexico but grew up in Chicago. Now, Perez is facing a deportation hearing this Monday because he committed a non-violent drug offense according to a local ABC News affiliate.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Perez is one of many veterans, some of whom sustained injuries and emotional trauma during combat, who have been decorated for service, then confronted with the possibility of deportation after committing a crime.
As with many others, Perez mistakenly thought he became a U.S. citizen when he took an oath to protect the nation. He discovered that was not the case when he was summoned to immigration court shortly before his release from a state penitentiary, where he had served seven years for handing over a bag of cocaine to an undercover police officer.
According to his family, Perez didn’t get the medical care he needed when he returned home, driving him to turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to self-medicate. Perez reportedly joined the military before going through the process to attain U.S. citizenship.
“He’s more American than most of us standing here, because he did pick up arms to defend this country,” Perez’s mother told reporters. Both of his parents are U.S. citizens.
Featured image: Miguel Perez, Jr (family photo). To follow Sky Palma on Facebook, click here.