US Army veteran to be deported to Mexico

US Army veteran to be deported to Mexico

A US Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan has been ordered to be deported.

Family and supporters of Perez gathered Sunday to plead for Perez's release, WLS reported. Perez, 38, was a legal permanent resident when he joined the Army and said he thought he became a legal US citizen when he enlisted.

Perez's parents said it's unfair that their son, who legally came to the age 8 and fought for his country, may not be able to call the USA home.

Perez served seven years, but because he is not a USA citizen, Immigration Customs Enforcement detained him, stripped his legal status and began the deportation process.

"I feel awful, because my son, right now, is a soldier with no nation - no Mexico, no United States of America, but my son fought for this country not for Mexico - now, he's not a national?" said Perez's mother Espranza Perez.

Perez is one of thousands of undocumented immigrant soldiers facing deportation. Both his children, ages 12 and 18, are USA citizens.

In 2010, Perez was arrested on charges of selling cocaine and later served seven years in jail. His family and friends said the injury and his PTSD made it hard for him to find work when he returned to Chicago. Perez's attorney, Chris Bergin, said Perez began to self-medicate with alcohol when he got home from his tours. His family says he thought he became a citizen once he joined the army.

CNN said Perez's mother appeared at Chicago's federal building last week while Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat, met with ICE officials inside to ask for mercy in several cases.

Now his family, community and other soldiers are asking U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin to pass a bill that would allow Perez to stay in "the only country he has ever known".

Sen. Dick Durbin of IL, a Democrat, didn't directly comment on the situation to WGN, but he said it was "a complicated case".

'It's a complicated case, we don't want unsafe people to remain in this country, but we ought to have our eyes wide open, ' Durbin told WGN.