U.S. Deported Veteran Speaks Out
MEXICO — With a potato sack in one hand, a United States veteran battled thoughts of suicide while walking across an American-Mexican bridge into Tijuana. As American signage vanished into the background, the veteran was leaving behind his family and two children.
That veteran is Chicago-based Miguel Perez, and he was deported in March of this year.
Perez came to the U.S. on a green card at 8-years-old. His father, a skilled soccer player, had been recruited to join a professional Chicago soccer team which relocated their family. Raised in the U.S., Perez grew up to love and respect his country, prompting him to pursue a career in the military, much like his uncle and grandfather did before him.
Nearing his 23rd birthday, Perez acted on his passion, and joined the U.S. Armed Forces. Months after the 9/11 attack, he was deployed twice to Afghanistan in 2002, and in 2003, where he served in active duty combat.
Assigned to a fire base that carried out offensive missions, his role, Perez said on Brad Show Live, was to operate a gun on top of a military Humvee vehicle.
Despite having witnessed several friends, accomplices and enemy combatants die, it wasn’t until Perez’s returned to the U.S. after his second deployment, that the effects of war negatively impaired his daily life.
“There was no transition period to acclimate back into the U.S.,” he said on Brad Show Live. There might have been a half hour class, but it was all very minimal, he explained.
And it was upon his return home that the veterans affairs hospital diagnosed Perez with traumatic brain injury and PTSD. But the medication alone was not enough to heal him.
Instead, Perez turned to drugs and alcohol.
Ignoring his family’s attempts to intervene, Perez started to hang out with his drug dealer. And it was during that time that he and his friend were charged with selling cocaine to an undercover cop.
Shortly after Perez served seven years in prison, he was ordered into deportation.
Currently free of drug and alcohol abuse, Perez remains in Tijuana with slim possibilities of returning to the U.S.
With one option including a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, an online petition presently circulates to raise awareness on this issue, and to bring Perez back to the country he knows and loves.
To hear more of Miguel Perez’s story on Brad Show Live, visit here.