MEXICO - They fought for the United States, but now they are getting deported.
Vista L.A.'s Patricia Lopez traveled to the San Diego-Mexico border to find out why hundreds of U.S. veterans were forced to leave the country they were willing to die for.
Former American veterans were deported after getting into legal trouble and serving jail time for their crimes.
Daniel Torres, a former Marine and self-deportee, shared his story and the story of other veterans who are now living in Mexico, fighting to return to their families and the country they consider home.
"The tragedy of the situation is that in a majority of the cases, these veterans get in trouble because they have problems with PTSD, with alcohol, with drugs and these problems stem from their service with the military," Torres said.
Torres said the United States gets rid of these veterans instead of getting them the treatment and help they deserve.
"The biggest problem with this is that people don't know," Torres said. "You tell them about deported veterans and people say that it's not real, it's fake news."
Torres said most of these veterans were promised automatic U.S. citizenship from the day they became a part of the military.
Torres came to the United States as a minor and overstayed his visa. He joined the Marine Corps as an undocumented immigrant. He self-deported to Mexico once the Marine Corps found out about his illegal status.
"I couldn't legalize my status, even as a veteran," Torres said. "I couldn't get a job. I couldn't do anything."
Torres said he thought he was the only deported veteran, but later learned there were more like him in 2014, three years after his self-deportation.
"Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, whether you're for or against the wall, this is not an immigration issue," Torres said. "This is a veteran issue. These are American veterans and they need to be back in America."
Learn more about deported veterans and the Deported Veterans Support House on their website.
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