Los Angeles (AP) — It took nearly a decade for US Marine Corps veteran Hector Osegeda to finally return home.
Convicted of drunk driving, he was deported to Mexico, the country where he left with his parents as a child. The 53-year-old has lived in Mexico for the past nine years and vowed to become an American citizen on Friday. This will allow you to return to your Southern California family.
While in Mexico, Osegeda contacted a group of deported veterans and applied to become an American citizen. Under US law, honorable veterans during a conflict are eligible to become citizens if they meet a set of requirements, including an interview with a citizenship officer.
He was scheduled for an interview in Los Angeles last year, but was unable to attend because border authorities did not allow him to return to the country in accordance with his deportation order.
Last month, Mr. Osegeda asked US officials to conduct a citizenship interview at the border he could attend or allow him to cross to make an appointment in Los Angeles. This is what happened this week.
“When I crossed that border, I felt like I was about to go home. I was very happy,” he said.
US Citizenship and Immigration officials interviewed Osegeda on Thursday. The next day, he will take an oath of citizenship in front of a judge in Los Angeles.
“I know the system isn’t perfect. I’m angry with this system, but not in this country,” Osegeda said before attending the ceremony with her sister and other relatives. Said. “I love this country.”
The incident occurs as the Biden administration stepped up its efforts to reach out to non-citizen military and veterans. Last week, the Department of Land Security and the Department of Veterans identified deported veterans, gave them access to the rights they were entitled to, and naturalized current and former military personnel eligible to become American citizens. Announced plans to remove barriers to.
In 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union published a report detailing the cases of dozens of veterans who were deported or faced deportation. Had these veterans been civilized for military service, they would not have been deported.
Osegeda was brought from Mexico to the United States by his parents and grew up in the city of Artesia in Southern California. He served in the Marine Corps from 1987 to 1991 and spent another four years in reserve before being honorable discharged. He got married, had two daughters, and got a green card from his wife.
However, Osegeda also had drug problems. He was convicted of drunk driving and urged US immigration authorities to deport him in 2000, his lawyer said.
Despite the order, Osegeda returned to California with his family and participated in a drug treatment program through a local veterans’ hospital. However, he was deported two more times. Since 2012, Osegeda says he has stayed in Mexico, working as a driver and guard, connecting with the leader of a group for deported veterans and recommending him to stay in pursuit of citizenship. ..
It cost money. It was difficult to adapt to life in a country that left as a boy. But nothing is comparable to the wounds of leaving his family. His marriage was suffering and he divorced. He missed on time with his daughters. And he was lonely. He said his relatives often had to work and couldn’t travel to meet him as often as he wanted.
Now Osegeda said he wants to go back to school and work as a nursing assistant, find a job and spend time with his loved ones.
“I’m going to take it every day,” he said. “It’s great to be here with them.”
Deported veterans return to the United States to become US citizens –
Source link Deported veterans return to the United States to become US citizens –