U.S. Veteran Deported Under Trump Is Sworn-In as Citizen
After losing his green card to nonviolent drug charges, Miguel Perez Jr. officially became a U.S. citizen in early October.
A U.S. Army veteran who was deported under the Trump Administration has been granted U.S. citizenship.
Miguel Perez Jr. was born in Mexico and moved to Chicago at age 8. He enlisted in the Army in 2001 and served two tours in Afghanistan, and was later diagnosed with service-connected PTSD.
In 2008, he was accused of giving cocaine to an undercover officer and pleaded guilty to the charge, which cost him his green card. After serving 7 and a half years for the nonviolent conviction, Perez was deported by ICE in 2018, despite his combat record and having parents and children who are U.S. citizens.
But in 2019, Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker granted Perez clemency, clearing his way to become a U.S. citizen. He was officially granted U.S. citizenship in early October.
Perez said he plans on spending time with his family and getting help for his mental health struggles He also hopes to advocate for other veterans who have been deported.
“There are other cases like mine. People who served in the military and were deported to Mexico, Costa Rica and Nigeria,” he explained. “I want to use the platform I have to help them.”
Data from 2018 showed that immigrants serving in the U.S. military were denied citizenship at a higher rate than foreign-born civilians.