LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Hector Barajas, a deported U.S. Army veteran from the Los Angeles area, says he'll soon be coming home and be granted U.S. citizenship.
``I'm coming home, ma!'' Barajas announced in a Facebook video Thursday from Tijuana.
Bajaras got the news in what's known as the ``Bunker,'' the headquarters of the Deported Veterans Support House he established in Tijuana for veterans like himself, the Orange County Register reported. He will sworn in as a citizen April 13, he said.
Barajas, who was born in Mexico and lived in Compton, was deported in 2004 after he spent time in prison for shooting at a vehicle. He came back to the U.S. and was again deported in 2010 after being pulled over in a traffic stop. Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned him in 2016, the Rgister reported.
He has been living in Tijuana where in 2013 he founded the support house that provides shelter for deported veterans and helps them apply for benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. His organization advocates for legislation prohibiting the deportation of U.S. veterans, but, while the issue persists, it seeks to improve the well-being of veterans not only in Tijuana but in other countries where they are deported.
Barajas became a lawful permanent U.S. resident as a teenager in 1992. He enlisted in the Army after high school and served in the 82nd Airborne Division.
He could have applied to become a naturalized citizen but thought his honorable military service made that automatic -- a common, but incorrect, assumption. He was still a permanent resident, and people with that status, veteran or not, can be deported for committing crimes or other violations.
Barajas is eligible to naturalize as a U.S. citizen due to his honorable service, according to a petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that called for the U.S. District Court to hold a naturalization hearing for Barajas, according to the Register.
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