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Army vet with green card deported because of drug conviction

Floridians might have heard about the U.S. veteran who was recently deported to Mexico. The man, who came to the U.S. legally with his father when he was 8 years old, was deported because of a drug conviction.

According to news sources, the man never applied for citizenship and instead renewed his green card every few years. He enlisted in the army in 2001 just before 9/11. He later served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and received a general discharge after he was allegedly caught smoking marijuana on the base.

The man reports that what he saw in Afghanistan made his life go awry. He reportedly began abusing drugs and alcohol. In 2010, he was convicted of selling several pounds of cocaine to undercover officers and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The man's green card was revoked. He applied for retroactive citizenship back to the date of his enlistment in 2001 but was denied because of his conviction. An Illinois senator stated that the system failed this man because he should have been allowed to remain in the U.S. to get treatment for his PTSD and substance abuse disorders. The man had been held in an immigration detention facility since 2016.

It is important for people to understand that they may face deportation even if they are lawful permanent residents in the event that they are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. People who are green card holders may want to talk to immigration lawyers about the naturalization process. When people are serving in the military, they may undergo an expedited process to obtain citizenship. However, as the man's case shows, citizenship is not conferred automatically simply based on military service.

Source: WREG, "Why a U.S. Army veteran was deported to Mexico," CNN, March 26, 2018.

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