CA Governor's Pardon Could Help 3 U.S. Veterans Return Home

By Nicole Chavez  (CNN)Hector Barajas is constantly dreaming about the day he'll return to the United States legally. On the eve of Easter, California Gov. Jerry Brown granted Barajas and two other veterans full pardons for crimes they committed before being deported to Mexico. Brown granted a total of 72 pardons and seven commutations Saturday. A pardon is usually granted to individuals who have demonstrated "exemplary behavior and have lived productive and law-abiding lives following their conviction," the governor's office said in a statement. The pardons could open a pathway for the men to come back to the United States, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of California. A veteran without US citizenship can be deported if convicted of various crimes. When the men's public records are cleared, an immigration judge could revisit their cases and halt their deportations, allowing them to return as lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders. "Oh my God, this is huge. The process will be easier for me to go home to my family," Barajas said in a Facebook live video. View image on Twitter Nathan Fletcher @nathanfletcher "That moment when @Banishedveteran sees his pardon and realizes due to compassion of @JerryBrownGov he is on the path to come home! #NoWords" "Hector Barajas, Erasmo Apodaca, and Marco Antonio Chavez Medina long ago paid their price for their mistakes, but their deportation has been the worst price of all, as they have been permanently separated from their families and the only country they knew," Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants' rights for the ACLU of California, said in a statement. Hector Barajas Barajas served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division from 1995 until he was honorably discharged in 2001. Continue reading

These Banished Veterans Know Exactly How Broken the System Is

Molly Osberg When the president invokes the “three million criminal aliens” living in America, perhaps Miguel Perez Jr., is who he’s thinking of. Perez, who was brought to the States from Mexico at the age of 8, has lived in Chicago for almost 30 years. His parents also live in Chicago. His teenaged children are U.S. citizens. But years ago he made some bad decisions—the worst of which was probably offering a laptop case full of cocaine to an undercover police officer. Perez pleaded guilty to the felony charge and served out a seven-year sentence. But last year, as he neared his release, Perez found himself before an immigration court. In late March a judge ordered his deportation. It’s a familiar story: Perez has no family nor prospects in Mexico. His entire life is here.   Continue reading