US veteran helps fellow fighters who have been deported

CCTV News

US veterans deported to Mexico 2

Among the hundreds of thousands of deported for illegal immigration from the United States in recent years, there is a surprising sub-group made up of former American military members.

An arrest or prison sentence is what will set the process in motion.

CCTV’s Franc Contreras has this report on a location in Tijuana, Mexico, designed to help deported U.S. military veterans.

US veteran helps fellow fighters who have been deported

US veteran helps fellow fighters who have been deported

Among the hundreds of thousands of deported for illegal immigration from the United States in recent years, there is a surprising sub-group made up of former American military members. An arrest or prison sentence is what will set the process in motion. CCTV's Franc Contreras has this report on a location in Tijuana, Mexico, designed to help deported U.S. military veterans.

 

“The Bunker”, also known more formally as the “Deported Veterans Support House”, is a resource center in Tijuana for US military veterans deported from the United States.

Founder Hector Barajas was born in Mexico and brought to the US by his parents as a child. At the age of 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, and became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.

After five years of service that included struggles with alcohol and drugs, Barajas was honorably discharged. Later he was deported twice to Mexico – both times after run-ins with the law, one of those a shooting incident.

Barajas created this center, which provides a sense of community and also offers these men group counseling and sometimes food and housing.

Daniel Torres, also born in Mexico, enlisted with the U.S. Army using a fake birth certificate and did a tour in Iraq. When the U.S. Army later discovered he was an undocumented immigrant, Torres pre-empted government action by leaving the U.S. voluntarily.

“I realized that life is not any better outside of the country and my family is still there in the states.”

With help from the Bunker, Torres got a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union, and in April he became an American citizen.

All of the people at “The Bunker” are dreaming of the day – which may or may not ever come – when they are allowed to return to the United States.