Governor’s Pardon allows Deported Veteran to Return to the United States
Last month, a military veteran was finally able to return home 15 years after being deported. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Marco Chavez Medina, 45, is the first deported military veteran to have his green card reinstated after a governor pardoned the conviction that caused him to lose it. Chavez served four years in the Marine Corps and was brought to the United States illegally in 1973 when he was about six months old. He was able to receive a green card in 1989 through the Reagan administration’s amnesty program, but he was convicted of animal cruelty and served 10 months of a two-year sentence in the late 1990s, which led to an immigration judge revoking his green card a few years later. Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned him earlier last year and an immigration judge reinstated his green card at the end of November. Chavez stated,
I was in disbelief. I believe it now. I’m nervous about restarting my life again in the U.S. I’ve been away for quite a bit, so I’ve got to start somewhere. I figure I did it in Tijuana, so I can do it in the U.S.
Chavez hopes to find work quickly and is looking to possibly work in construction or maintenance and repair. Former state assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and ACLU executive director Norma Chávez-Peterson, who are part of a coalition to help deported military veterans return to the U.S., welcomed Chavez when he reached U.S. soil in San Ysidro. The ACLU has documented at least 239 cases of deported veterans living in 34 countries. Chavez is one of three deported veterans pardoned by Governor Brown last year and Fletcher hopes the others might be permitted to cross soon. Perhaps other deported military veterans will be allowed to return to the United States, but it would most likely be on a case by case decision.