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Home | News | National News | Deported Veteran Returns Home, Granted Citizenship after 14 Years
photo: CNN

Deported Veteran Returns Home, Granted Citizenship after 14 Years

Hector Barajas-Varela,  who has been an international voice for deported Veterans received the news he’s been waiting on for nearly a decade and a half, on Thursday he was granted his United States citizenship.

Barjas-Varela was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a child at age 7. After graduating from High School he decided to serve his country and enlist, becoming part of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army from 1995 to 2001 as a paratrooper, where he was given his honorable discharge.

Shortly after leaving the Army, he was convicted of a felony for having shot at a car, injuring no one. He served his time in a California prison and was released in 2004, when he was then deported.

Since his deportation in 2004, it has been an uphill climb.  Having built a new life in a country he had never known, Hector found the strength to help others and he founded a support  group in Tijuana – Deported Veterans Support House – dedicated to assisting with housing, food, and other basic needs.

According to the group, Banished Veterans, since 1996 there have anywhere between 8,000 to 40,000 veterans who have served in our United States military and then found themselves exiled from the country they defended.

“Yes, I am a convicted felon. But not a criminal. I paid my debt to society back in 2001 to 2003. That was a long time ago.”  Barjas-Varela said in a 2013 interview.

Baraja-Varela’s wife and daughter and the rest of his family have counted the years along with him, waiting for him in the United States.

California Governor Jerry Brown granted a historic pardon to Barajas-Varela  and two other Veterans in 2017, which would not grant them citizenship, but it would help with appeals to federal immigration authorities.

Upon hearing the news on Thursday, Hector could no longer contain himself.

“Fourteen years, man,” he said, his voice filled with emotion. “Oh my God, this is great. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

“I’m coming home, mom!” he told reporters when he was given the good news.

Thank you Jesus !! CITIZENSHIP GRANTED!! ALL AMERICAN AFTER 14 YEARS.DEPORTED IN 2004 Thank you Nathan Fletcher James Erselius Jennie Pasquarella Norma CP Alor Calderon Hectorb Barajasvarela Latham & WatkinsAll our supporters please visit deportedveteranssupporthouse.orgDeported Veterans Support HouseYolanda Varona Jack Aviles Ezekiel Ivy Tijeras Josefrancisco LopezHectorb Barajasvarela

Posted by Hector Barajas on Thursday, 29 March 2018

 

About Yolitzma Aguirre

A little about me, I am a proud El Paso, TX native. Previously I traveled across the country telling stories of rising Latino leaders. Currently, the nation's capital is home, where I will tell new stories...but always keeping El Paso in my heart.

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One comment

  1. Thank you Ms. Aguirre for this great story. Our veterans need to not only be recognized, but assisted with any medical and/or legal issues they may be facing. They have earned it. EPT

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