U.S. Army veteran and green card holder Miguel Perez Jr., a Chicago resident who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, lived in the U.S. since the age of 8, and has two American children, was arrested by ICE and has been denied an appeal to remain in the U.S. by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
To protest what is seen as his likely deportation to a country he believes “means certain death,” Perez has undergone a hunger strike. In a stunning concession, the Army vet has claimed that he would rather die than be deported.
“If it comes down to me being deported, I would rather leave this world in the country I gave my heart for,” Perez said.
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Perez claimed that, should he be deported to Mexico, he would face imminent danger by drug cartels who target veterans with combat experience to work for them.
Perez only recently finished a prison term on a drug conviction after getting caught with drugs he sought after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Carlos Luna, founder and president of a green card veteran chapter of the League of Latino American Citizens (LULAC), said, “It’s pretty ridiculous that a veteran has to go on a hunger strike just to be able to stay. Just last night our president was talking about uniting the country and the reverence for veterans.”
“I don’t think it should come to this,” Luna added. “He’s definitely not getting the care he’s earned.”
Trump may be quick to exploit the military when spouting off baseless platitudes to his base, but his administration’s treatment of them on an individual basis speaks volumes about his utter lack of interest in those who risk everything to protect this country.