Two U.S. Army veterans who were deported to Mexico were sworn in as U.S. citizens this week after a long and arduous fight for their rights.
The new U.S. citizens are Mauricio Hernandez Mata, 41, who served in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2006, including missions in Afghanistan; and Leonel Contreras, 63, who joined the U.S. Army at the age of 17 and served for a year in 1976.
A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told the Associated Press that she had been working on Hernandez Mata’s case for seven years.
The pair are among 65 people who have been allowed back into the United States over the past year as part of a growing effort by the Biden administration, according to nbcsandiego.
The Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI) was launched in July 2021 when Veterans Affairs (VA) partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to consolidate relevant federal resources for noncitizen service members, Veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors. The initiative also launched a portal for Veterans who need assistance in applying to return to the United States and for accessing VA benefits to which they may be entitled.