U.S. deports Mexican-born war veterans for minor crimes

Mexico City, Apr 8 (EFE).- About 1,000 Mexican nationals who served with the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Vietnam have been deported to Mexico over the past few years for committing minor crimes, the daily Excelsior reported Monday.

"In Tijuana (just across the border from San Diego, California) the presence of war veterans is growing, people trained in handling weapons and who oftentimes own several, which represents a risk," said the Mexican paper after noting that the situation recently sparked a protest at Playas de Rosarito.

The deportations are based on U.S. immigration law, which since 1996 has allowed the deportation of permanent residents.

One of the people expelled, Fabian Rebolledo, who lived in the U.S. since he was 3 years old and was deported at age 43 after serving with the U.S. military in Kosovo, said he had been expelled even after he had received a medal for valor.

Among the reasons claimed by U.S. authorities for kicking him out of the country was "going through a red stoplight and driving under the influence of alcohol," he said.

Committing a traffic violation is what caused Vietnam veteran Valente Valenzuela to be deported, he said, despite the fact that he saved several lives in combat.

On Dec. 21, 2011, Victor Manuel Partida was deported after being caught stealing construction materials valued at $400.

"I want to return because I have my family there, besides the fact that I love that country. I love that country," he said.