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11/12/2012

The 'banished' U.S. veterans in Mexico

Fabian Rebolledo served as a U.S. Army paratrooper in the 1990s. But a little bad luck befell him after his discharge. He bounced a $750 check. Then he violated a parole. So the Feds deported him to Mexico.

He can return to the United States on one condition -– that he be dead. The Pentagon assures him burial in a federal cemetery.

The video above is by journalist Erin Siegal and it is about a group of deported U.S. veterans living in Rosarito in Baja California. They’ve all served in the U.S. military and many have been honorably discharged. To read Erin’s print story about the cases, click here. Apparently, there are hundreds of these deported veterans in Mexico and around the world. One website is called Banished Veterans. It says there are 30,000 non-citizens currently serving in the U.S. military.

Many of them are burned over what they say are promises by President Obama that they would get automatic citizenship upon ending their tours of duty. It’s easy to see how they’d get that impression. Here’s what Obama said yesterday at a Veteran’s Day event:

"I promised your generation that when your tour comes to an end, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil, you'll be welcomed home to an America that will forever fight for you, just as hard as you've fought for us."

Only thing is, some of those veterans will have to be dead to touch that soil again.

Item: It's worth noting that the U.S. Army's Soldier of the Year this year is a guy from Nepal, Sgt. Saral Shrestha, who emigrated from his homeland and joined the Army after attending Bellevue University in Nebraska. Interested in reading more? Click here.

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Ben Gonzalez

Just sneak across the border like the 8+ million of other illegals that live here. What's the problem?

Ted Knights

They should be given 2nd chances. People learn from their mistakes if their sincere in changing. And obama made a promise and he should keep that promise.

George Michelson

Tim,
Each of these "banished" veterans have career flaws, they committed crimes for which they were arrested and found guilty for a crime in the United States. It appears as that although they have served their country, they are more recently convicted criminals. I feel little remorse for their situations, and I don't see how President Obama's statements about caring for veterans has anything to do with convicted criminals. Bark up another tree. From a veteran who has not been convicted of a crime.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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