United States military veteran Miguel Perez reportedly had no idea that he was being deported to Mexico until it was too late.
ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed in a statement on Friday that they sent 39-year-old Miguel Perez to the US-Mexico border from Texas and turned him over to Mexican authorities.
Although Perez came to the United States legally at the age of 8, he had not yet become a naturalized citizen. According to CNN, his father brought his family here for work and over the years, his parents and one sister became citizens, while another was born a citizen.
He served in the Army beginning in 2001. According to his lawyer, he served two tours of duty in Afghanistan from October 2002 to April 2003, and again from May to October 2003. Perez left the Army in 2004 due to a general discharge related to marijuana use on base.
However, Perez was denied citizenship prior to his deportation, due to a felony drug conviction, which Perez credits to his PTSD following his work in the military.
“After the second tour, there was more alcohol and that was also when I tried some drugs,” Perez told CNN. “But the addiction really started after I got back to Chicago, when I got back home, because I did not feel very sociable.”
Perez was convicted on drug charges in 2010. He received a 15-year sentence and had his green card revoked. Perez’s sentence was half-way complete when ICE detained him.
“If they are sentencing me to a certain death, and I am going to die, then why die in a place that I have not considered my home in a long time?” Perez asked.