U.S. Marine makes trek spread to awareness about veteran deportations - News 11's Wiley Jawhary reports
IMPERIAL, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - A Brawley veteran will walk the entire US-Mexico border to bring awareness to his former comrades who have been deported.
The American Veterans Homefront Initiative says veterans who are legal residents but not citizens are getting deported for minor crimes. Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Ramon Castro, who's making the trek, says many are getting expelled for DUIs and incidents related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
"It is kind of like a dirty little secret that no one knows about, I didn't know about this myself until a year ago," he said.
According to NPR, a report revealed that an estimated 92 veterans were deported from 2013 to 2018, but the numbers are far higher according to groups of deported veterans. Castro believes they deserve a second chance after all they've done for the United States.
"We are not saying that they didn't make a mistake, what we are saying is they should serve their time for the crime and get to start over in the country they served," he said.
Castro believes the U.S. should have a policy in place to protect veterans from deportation.
Castro will walk the entire length of the border making stops in key cities. He will also cross the border to visit shelters set up specifically for deported veterans. More information on his mission can be found on his website.
Castro currently serves as a Brawley City Councilman, but he spent seven-years in the Marine Corps.
Castro is also city councilmember in Brawley, he served in the Marine Corps for seven years. He says that currently the US government has no policy in place to protect veterans from being deported.
One US Army veteran by the name of Hector Daraaas-Darela was deported back in 2004 for a shooting he was involved in. It resulted in no injuries and he became a US citizen in 2018.
"I am very excited about what he is doing and hope we can shed more light to this issue,” he said.
As for Castro, he hopes his trek across the Southwest raises awareness of this increasingly common predicament. He'll walking from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. He sets out on June 28, and expects to arrive by August 11.