Immigrants living in Colorado or elsewhere may be deported if they lose their legal status even if they have served in the military. A 39-year-old man was deported back to Mexico after his application for citizenship was denied because of a previous felony drug conviction. The man had arrived in the United States legally as a child, but he chose to continually renew his green card rather than become a citizen.
The green card was revoked in 2010 after he was convicted of giving an undercover police officer more than 2 pounds of cocaine. He claims that the drug addiction started after his second tour of Afghanistan and intensified when he returned home to Chicago. His military service began just before 9/11, and that second tour of Afghanistan took place between May and October 2003. After being convicted of the felony drug charge, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The man had been in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody since 2016 when deportation proceedings began. According to the man's lawyer, he thought that signing up for military service automatically gave him citizenship. The former soldier claimed that going back to Mexico would mean certain death and that he would likely be recruited by and forced to work for the drug cartels because of his combat experience.
Those who are undergoing deportation and removal proceedings may be able to increase their chances of obtaining a favorable outcome by hiring an attorney. In some cases, an individual might be allowed to stay in the country by asking for asylum or by establishing that he or she is already here legally. An attorney may also help an individual take steps to get a green card or apply for citizenship, which can protect against being deported in the future.