Abandoned adept Miguel Perez Jr. appears at a account appointment at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Pilsen on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Perez has been accustomed to acknowledgment to Chicago for several weeks to accompany his citizenship application. Manuel Martinez/WBEZ adumbrate explanation
An Army adept who served two tours in Afghanistan but was denied U.S. citizenship and abandoned to Mexico is aback in Chicago for the aboriginal time in 18 months.
Miguel Perez Jr., 41, was accepted a acting acceptance and larboard Mexico on Monday to arise to Chicago to accommodated with clearing admiral and accept his citizenship appeal reconsidered.
Surrounded by accompany and family, he’s aback in his home of about a decade.
The Army adept served seven years for a abomination biologic conviction, but aloft his release, U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement denied Perez’s citizenship appeal and abandoned him to Matamoros, Mexico, in March 2018.
The veteran’s case is complicated and spans abounding years. WBEZ has arise on agnate veterans who accept been deported.
Just canicule ago, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker pardoned Perez of that crime, giving him achievement for citizenship.
“I am so adored to be here. Aloof a brace of weeks ago, I was abandoned in a abode that I don’t belong,” Perez said Tuesday afternoon at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. “We’ll see what happens. I accept acceptance in God that I’m activity to be able to break home. I accept to break home. I can’t go back.”
Miguel Perez Jr. at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Pilsen on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Manuel Martinez/WBEZ adumbrate explanation
Perez accustomed aback to Chicago from Texas on Tuesday morning. He’s appointed to accommodated with clearing admiral on Wednesday, a affair that had ahead been postponed.
Perez was accustomed aback into the United States from Mexico on a two-week altruistic visa. When asked if he’s afraid about the affair actuality canceled, Perez said, “No, I’ve got acceptance and I accept all these admirable bodies praying for me. I feel blessed, strong.”
Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor at United Methodist Church, said U.S. Citizenship and Clearing Services, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Clearing and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security adjourned Wednesday’s hearing.
He said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is alive with Perez and his aggregation on his case.
“Though he came actuality and is accessible to appear, they canceled that accurate hearing. If necessary, we’ll administer for an extension,” Coleman said. ‘It’s aloof one of the added complicated steps. This is a admirable brother who has been bent in bureaucracies and difficulties, and all the difficulties that had to be affected in adjustment to get him here. We’re not afraid by this. We’re not discouraged.”
The meeting, as of Tuesday afternoon, was aback on for Wednesday, according to Perez’s abutment team.
At Tuesday’s columnist conference, Perez was hugged by his parents, Miguel and Esperanza Perez, both of whom were affected with emotion.
Miguel and Esperanza Perez at a columnist appointment for their son, Miguel Perez Jr., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Manuel Martinez/WBEZ adumbrate explanation
“I aloof appetite to acknowledge the people, all the people. In the name of our aristocrat Jesus Christ, acknowledgment to everyone,” Miguel Perez Sr. said in his built-in Spanish.
“He’s aback at home. Home area he belongs,” Esperanza said in her built-in Spanish. “I aloof appetite to acknowledge everybody. My affection is abounding with gratitude.”
Perez said he is attractive advanced to affair with his 12-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter, who he has not apparent in about a decade.
Carlos Luna, admiral of the League of United Latin American Citizens #5310 and Green Card Veterans, said he is alive to advice defended Perez’s medical allowances to abetment in angry post-traumatic accent ataxia suffered from his two-tours in Afghanistan.
“He’s not demography any handouts, it’s not a accessible charge. He fought for these benefits. He fought for that bloom affliction ,and now it’s time for us to get it to him,” Luna said.
Michael Puente covers Chicago and Northwest Indiana for WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews. WBEZ anchorman María Ines Zamudio contributed to this report.
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