SAN DIEGO — The ACLU of California applauds today's news from the nonprofit campaign Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported ("HDDD") that Governor Brown has pardoned three noncitizen U.S. military veterans who were expelled from the United States after committing minor crimes deemed 'deportable' under draconian immigration law. Read HDDD's press statement here.
Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants’ rights for the ACLU of California and staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California has represented many veterans in their struggles to return home. She also serves on the HDDD steering committee and made the following comment:
“With these pardons, Governor Brown has ended the life sentence of banishment these men have suffered every day since they were deported for the crime they committed. Hector Barajas, Erasmo Apodaca, and Marco Antonio Chavez Medina long ago paid their price for their mistakes, but their deportation has been the worst price of all, as they have been permanently separated from their families and the only country they knew. These pardons open a historic pathway for these American veterans to return home to California as naturalized citizens or lawful permanent residents.”
The 2016 ACLU of California report "Discharged, Then Discarded" discusses how the federal government’s failure to help naturalize immigrants serving in the U.S. military has led to the deportation of countless veterans, all of whom were entitled to become citizens because of their service. The report documents the stories of 59 noncitizen veterans, including the three pardoned today.