CHICAGO (CBS) — An attorney for U.S. Army Veteran Miguel Perez Junior filed an appeal to stop his deportation.
Perez lived in the U.S. since he was eight-years-old. He served two tours of duty in a war zone with special forces, but when he came home from the military, he was suffering from PTSD and that led him to make some poor decisions, his attorney Chris Bergin said.
Bergin says Perez was self-medicating with alcohol, and that he later met a drug dealer and did a favor for that man, which cost him his freedom for seven years. After his prison sentence was over, immigration officials picked him up and ordered a deportation hearing.
Last week, Judge Robin Rosche ruled against him and ordered that he be deported. He was informed of this decision while in detention through a call to an ICE hotline that keeps those in proceedings updated on their pending immigration cases. The decision has caused distress for Miguel Jr. and his parents Miguel Sr. and Esperanza Perez, as well as his sister and children.
Bergin is also pleading with U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth to submit a private bill on behalf of his client, which could prevent his deportation.
Bergin says if Miguel Jr. is deported, he will not have access to the essential medications that he currently takes to treat his PTSD and brain injury.
He has no immediate family in Mexico that he’d be able to live with and has not been back since he entered the U.S. when he was eight.
Bergin says military veterans who are deported become high targets for cartel recruitment because of their military training and are also often seen as traitors by the police and military of their country of origin.
Bergin expects to hear back on his appeal within three to five months.