Hector Barajas

  Hector Barajas served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm.  After he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army,  found it difficult to adapt to civilian life upon returning home. This led to substance abuse problem and a conviction for being in a car when a firearm was discharged. Hector served two years in prison and was subsequently turned over to ICE and deported to Mexico. Hector regrets his mistakes and has dedicated his life to helping other deported veterans. He opened The Deported Veterans Support House (aka “The Bunker”) in Tijuana, providing shelter and vital services to deported veterans.  Through his selfless dedication and leadership, Hector has touched the lives of hundreds of veterans who would otherwise have no source of support following their deportation.  His advocacy has put the issue of the deportation of veterans on the map. Hector is eager to reunite with his daughter, who has multiple sclerosis and is in need of her father, and his parents and siblings who continue to reside in Los Angeles, where he grew up. He lives in Tijuana, Mexico.

Marco Antonio Chavez Medina

    Marco’s parents brought him to the U.S. when he was just one year old. Medina enlisted in the Marine Corps and served honorably for four years. In 1998, he was convicted of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to two years in state prison but was released after fifteen months for good behavior. In 2002, he was deported to Mexico, when an immigration judge deemed his conviction to be an “aggravated felony” under the immigration law, requiring his deportation. His family moved to Mexico to be with him, but  life in Mexico was difficult for his family, especially his wife who did not speak Spanish and had to cross the border every day to work. His wife and kids eventually moved to Iowa, leaving Marco behind in Mexico. Marco has been separated from his sons, for whom he tries to be a father despite the separation.  Marco wants to be more than a long, lost relative; he wants to try to repair his relationship with his sons and be physically there for them through their milestones.  Marco grew up in Los Angeles and lives in Tijuana, Mexico.    

Erasmo Apodaca

      Erasmo was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines following his service including a deployment in Operation Desert Storm. Upon his return from service, he was convicted of burglary for breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house. After serving his sentence, he was deported. While incarcerated, Erasmo participated in a program for non-violent criminals where he fought fires alongside trained firemen and only served one year in prison due to his good behavior. His deportation left his two young children without a father to raise them. Erasmo never gave up hope and continues to give back to his community. He wants nothing more than to become a U.S. citizen.  Erasmo grew up in Calexico, California and lives in Mexicali, Mexico.