Deported Army veteran from SoCal allowed to return to U.S.

A deported U.S. Army veteran from Southern California is returning to the United States and getting citizenship after receiving a state pardon.

Lawyers for Hector Barajas say they were told Thursday their client should attend a naturalization ceremony on April 13. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed the decision.

Barajas, who served six years in the military, had formed a support home for other deported veterans in Tijuana after he was deported.

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There's a congressional effort to allow deported veterans back into the United States, and ABC7 traveled with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to Mexico as lawmakers met with the vets.

The deportation followed his conviction in 2002 of shooting at an occupied vehicle. He served almost two years in prison and then was deported.

While living in Tijuana, he worked to support fellow veterans who had also been forced to leave the United States.

Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned Barajas last year, noting his distinguished military service and advocacy work.

The ACLU helped Barajas with his case.

"This is great! I'm going home, ma!" Barajas said as an ACLU official gave him the news while he was at the "Bunker" the home for deported veterans he established.

He told the other veterans there that he would continue to work to help them.

"I'm not stopping for any of you guys," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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