This is a story that is wrong in so many ways. We have a young man who was brought to this country as a 3 year old. He loved living in this country so much that he enlisted in the Marines and was sent into combat in Iraq where he was seriously injured and returned home with brain damage and PTSD.
Instead of giving him the care he needed and deserved, they simply dumped him out on the street where he naturally could not cope and got into trouble. Again, instead of receiving the proper care he was railroaded into a felony conviction and served time in prison.
When he got out, instead of getting any kind of rehabilitation, he got arrested by ICE and is currently facing deportation to El Salvador, a dangerous country that he has no memory of or connection to.
Unfortunately, this story, or one like it, is far too common. First the military uses our young people as nothing more than canon fodder then discards them as the trash they consider them to be.
Then the legal system takes another pound of flesh, and finally when there is little left, they are totally discarded. If there is an excuse, and sometimes even without one, they are shipped away to be someone else’s problem.
This is disgraceful and makes me feel something that I have never felt before in my 70 years; I am ashamed to call myself an American. I never thought that I would say this, but we are not the country we pretend to be.
By Daniella Silva – NBC News
Supporters of a Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq are calling on the California governor to help stop his imminent deportation to El Salvador, a country he left at 3 years old.
Jose Segovia Benitez, 38, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999-2004 and was deployed to Iraq, receiving multiple awards and decorations during his service, according to Marine and military records. His rib cage is tattooed with large Statue of Liberty.
“He is a soldier who put his life on the line to defend his country,” his mother, Martha Garcia, said in Spanish. “But when he returned from the war, he came back with problems.”
His supporters said that when Segovia Benitez returned, he suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. He began self-medicating with alcohol and ran into trouble with the law, they said.
While he previously had legal status, he was ordered to be removed from the country last year after serving several years in prison for drug and domestic violence-related convictions, according to immigration authorities.
His family, advocates and lawyers say that while they do not excuse his past behavior, Segovia Benitez did not get the treatment he needed for his PTSD and brain injury, noting he served both his country and his sentence. They say he does not deserve to be deported to an extremely dangerous country he has never known after his years of service.
“It’s just cruel,” Garcia said.
Segovia Benitez, who has lived in the U.S. since he was 3 and grew up in Long Beach, California, decided to serve his country right out of high school, his mother said.
Basty Garcia, his sister, said her brother enlisted because “he was patriotic and believed in this country.”
Immigration authorities began his deportation process Tuesday, but he was subsequently taken off a plane bound for El Salvador and is now being detained in Arizona, according to his family and advocates.
Basty Garcia said it remained unclear exactly what happened and why.
Read the entire story here: