Barajas founder of Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana is working to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen and if approved, he will become the second deported Veteran to gain naturalized citizenship.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
May 24, 2016
Tijuana, Baja California, México – On Tuesday, Hector Barajas, the founder of the Deported Veterans Support House (DVSH) announced that he will be allowed to return to the U.S. at the San Ysidro border crossing on June 2 for a interview to become a naturalized U.S. Citizenship and if approved, he will become the second deported Veteran to gain citizenship within 90 days of the interview. He will also become the first deported Veteran to get Veteran Administration (VA) disability benefits.
Barajas says, he will get an exam on Thursday for VA medical benefits. When contacted by Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) on Tuesday about his current status, Barajas said, “I feel like an American already, it’s unfortunate a paper has to prove that.”
Barajas is one of thousands of deported Veterans exiled from the U.S. for minor crimes not considered a threat to the U.S. and were unjustly deported to Mexico, South and Central America including other countries.
On Saturday, Barajas met with Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders at the border wall near Nogales who vowed if elected, he will work to bring back deported Veterans who qualify for citizenship and will stop separating families.
Last April, Daniel Torres, a deported U.S. Marine Veteran with the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union in California and the DVSH became the first deported Veteran in U.S. history to gain naturalized U.S. Citizenship.
In October 2012, Barajas along with U.S. Veteran Fabian Rebolledo, one of the multitude of Veterans that have been been deported by the U.S. Government began the DVSH in Mexico. Rebolledo also posted on Facebook in 2012, that only upon the death of a deported U.S. Veteran presently living in another country can they be fully honored and recognized by the U.S. military and government as Americans. The U.S. Government provides a plot and marker.
Rebolledo wrote that 12,000 or more U.S. Veterans have been deported by the U.S. Rebolledo, who served in the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne would have faced between 7 to 20 years in a federal prison, if he illegally returned to the U.S. Rebolledo stated, “…If I die today, I can be buried as an American with full military Honors…only upon my death may I be able to be an American!”
Both men, Barajas and Rebolledo including a group of other deported Veterans began the support group to provide help for other U.S. deported Veterans in the same predicament brought upon them by unjust immigration laws and the same government and country they honorably served.
In June 2015, Rebolledo was successful in overturning a felony conviction in the U.S. to a misdemeanor gaining access to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.
On July 7, DVSH and a group of deported Veterans will request for President Barack H. Obama to grant humanitarian parole for all deported Veterans in order to gain access to full VA benefits, including treatment for PTSD. Once Veterans are deported, the U.S. government makes it difficult for them to apply for full medical benefits, because they are required to be present at a U.S. VA office when filing for those benefits.
At least 35,000 non-citizens are currently serving in the U.S. military and about 5,000 permanent alien residents enlist in the military per year.
Update: Hector Barajas confirmed on August 8, 2016 that he had received a notice from the USCIS for a scheduled appointment to take a U.S. Citizen exam for Naturalization processing on September 30, 2016 in San Diego, CA. Barajas will apply for a visa to enter the U.S. for the scheduled citizenship exam after being deported.