Chicago veteran faces deportation after non-violent drug crime

FOX 32 NEWS - Several Chicago families are asking for help for their military veterans and Gold Star families fighting deportation, and they're taking their fight to the nation’s Capital.

Supporters call them, "green card veterans."

Some believed that by simply serving the United States in uniform, that meant an easier path to citizenship. But if convicted of a felony, that dream can be dashed.

One Chicago veteran is facing deportation back to Mexico, a country he hasn't lived in since he was a child.

Miguel Perez Jr. served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. His family said when he came home, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a brain injury.

Now, he has a felony drug conviction, but one his family says was a non-violent crime. Perez faces deportation back to Mexico.

His family doesn't understand why a veteran could still have his green card revoked, despite his service.

"They believed that they were US citizens and upon their return, if he were a US citizen and if they were, if the United States was good on their word, he would not be facing deportation today," said family pastor Emma Lozano.

The Department of Homeland Security does not have a tally on the number of green card veterans and soldiers deported.

But experts say Perez is one of thousands of veterans deported for crimes, varying from minor drug offenses to driving under the influence.

Perez's parents are not alone. Olivia Segura lost her daughter, Ashley, while served and was killed in Kuwait back in 2007.

Segura says it hit the family hard, but hit her husband much worse. He developed an addiction.

"I'm a Gold Star family who is facing the deportation of my husband," said Segura.

Now, she is fighting alongside the Perez family for changes in Washington to help the veterans and their families who face deportation.

"It is enough suffering, every day waking up without her and on top of that receive the suffering of thinking that my family is going to be broken apart," added Segura. "Losing one member, I think, that is enough."

Other veterans advocates say although it's unfortunate, if you break the law and you're not a citizen, deportation will happen.

The Perez family and the rest of the group plan to travel to the nation’s Capital to meet with legislators later this week.