Deported Veterans of America
There are soldiers and marines that have served the United States even though they were not born in the country. Some of them entered the US by crossing the border illegally, but after being promised citizenship in exchange for their service, they enlisted. Some of them have risked their lives on the front lines in wars like Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Today they find themselves deported to Mexico after having committed a crime, like cashing checks without funds, shooting a firearm or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after having served the United States on the ground and have, since their deportation, lost the right to receive medical attention.
We went to Tijuana to meet a group of veterans who have been expelled by the US government. Héctor Barajas, a former paratrooper for the US Army, has seen with his own eyes just how difficult life is for the veterans who have been expelled from their country. After living in Tijuana's El Bordo river canal, he decided to leave his addictions behind and start a shelter for deported veterans. The Bunker, as the site is known, has the capacity to host up to 5 veterans who have been deported to Tijuana. Hector and another 20 veterans are in Mexico fighting for the US to acknowledge their service, grant them the citizenship that was promised to them when they decided to serve in the Armed Forces and allow them to return to what they consider to be their country. Every month they station themselves at the San Ysidro international border, to expose both Mexicans and Americans to their story.