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Deported Army vet reunited with mom on Valentine’s Day after 10 years

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — In the early several hours of Valentine’s Day, Mauricio Hernandez-Mata crossed into the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California, marking the Military veteran’s very first return into the state given that he was deported a lot more than 10 many years ago.

“I think I’m gonna wake up right now and I’m nevertheless gonna be in Mexico deported,” he reported. “It’s unreal.”

Hernandez-Mata served in additional than 100 beat missions for the U.S. Army and when he left the services, he predicted to be granted U.S. citizenship. In its place, he was deported right after getting convicted of drug and firearm possession.

“Exiled is, in my belief, a kind term for the feeling,” he explained to NewsNation at the nation’s busiest border crossing wherever tens of thousands of folks enter the region every single working day.

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Hernandez-Mata’s attorney Andres Kwon, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, explained immigration laws can be “unforgiving.”

“They’re very harsh,” Kwon mentioned. “Things that are misdemeanors can be deemed in immigration regulation as an aggravated felony.”

It’s not unusual for veterans like Hernandez-Mata, who endure from article-traumatic worry dysfunction, to consider steps that end result in deportation, regardless of their armed forces status, Kwon reported.

A U.S. Federal government Accountability Office report identified that in between the yrs of 2013 and 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 92 of the 250 veterans to whom they issued a detect to seem (a doc that starts deportation proceedings). Veteran Affairs gains aren’t completely accessible to veterans who live exterior of the U.S.  

According to the governing administration report, the most typical international locations of origin for deported veterans are:

  • Mexico
  • Germany
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominican Republic
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • U.K.
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Costa Rica
  • Korea
  • Poland

Hernandez-Mata is the 1st to acknowledge he’s made mistakes. But Monday, he reported he was thankful to hug his mother in the nation he served.

“If I experienced a second probability I would gladly do it all again – battle for my state in any conflict,” Hernandez-Mata reported. “I have constantly regarded as myself and I am an American.”