Saturday, November 23, 2019

Confessions of a Deported U.S. Soldier: Mexican Drug Cartels Are Recruiting Us and ‘the System Is Failing’

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Gus from Daily Beast

"Hey, Andrew. It’s Miguel. Listen... they got rid of me.” 


The guards came in the middle of the night and sent me to Tamaulipas, a state in Mexico with U.S. travel restrictions due to violence. Only after landing was I able to call my family to tell them what happened. I should have had two more weeks before deportation.
The whole process—from the initial moment I learned my case had an immigration hold to the midnight wake-up call—can only be described as surreal. I’ve considered myself an American my entire life. If “home is where the heart is,” my home is in Chicago with my family and the Cubs. My grandfather is a natural-born American citizen but moved to Mexico to start his family. And his son, my father, moved our family back to the U.S. when I was only 8 years old.

When the time came to serve this country, my country, I never questioned it. I served two tours in Afghanistan with the understanding that I was a U.S. citizen. I was proud to serve a country that had become my home.

A part of me never returned from the war. Similar to many veterans, I live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from my time in the military. As a way to cope, I turned to drugs, which led to a conviction and a sentence of seven-plus years.

While in prison, my doctor and I figured out the right medication that positively impacted my mental health. I noticed a distinct difference in my behavior, however, after being brought into ICE custody.

As I was processed into Mexico, they gave me 13 days of medicine. My family brought a little more when visiting me, but the lack of resources to get the medicine I needed impacted my mental health and PTSD. There are no Veterans Affairs hospitals in Tijuana, so once I ran out of my medicine, I could feel my body almost shut down. I started shaking and sweating in November of last year and didn’t stop until I returned home in September. I couldn’t stand in line at the store or even leave my apartment without the memories of my deployment taking over my body.


As I sat shaking alone in my apartment, violence raging outside my windows, I made plans to end it all. But God had other plans for me, and by his grace I survived a year and a half in Mexico without the proper medication or any resources to keep my PTSD under control.

On Oct. 4, 2019, I finally took the oath to become an American citizen. While I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole process, my emotions were still mixed. I’m happy to put this ordeal behind me but I will always question why I had to do this again. In my eyes, it’s something that I had already done in my heart.


The first thing I did after returning home was visit my doctor. The resources I had longed for in Mexico are now easily available so I’m starting anew with a healthy, positive lifestyle, seeing a psychologist and visiting my doctor regularly. It’s hard for me to fathom that just three months ago I was in Tijuana shaking in my apartment. The horrible ordeal has left its scars, but I’m healing and finding the right balance.

Now that I’m back in America, I’m doing what I can to take care of myself and the veterans we left behind in Mexico. Sadly, I know fellow soldiers who have been deported for 14-15 years, so I’ve traveled back and forth to Washington, D.C., with LULAC and Green Card Veterans to push for legislative change. For Veterans Day this year, I joined Senator Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, to visit Tijuana and spend time with the other deported veterans still in Mexico. I hope my story gives them faith that they too can return home soon.

This issue isn’t an immigration problem—it’s a veterans issue. The system is failing those who are willing to die for our country. When veterans are unable to get the resources they need to live with PTSD and the effects of war, they get into trouble. For those of us with different birth certificates, we’re faced with deportation from a country we’ve given everything to.

As soon as I faced deportation, the job offers came pouring in from fellow inmates involved in cartels. “You don’t have to worry about a thing,” they said. I eerily learned early on that they weren’t job offers at all, they were demands. This is a direct consequence of deporting military veterans that is going unnoticed.

I’m thankful to be back home with my family, but I’m a rare case for those in my shoes. Our country is failing those who fought to keep us safe, and I hope Ready for War sheds light on the human aspect of this issue and the national security implications.

The documentary Ready for War premieres Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

51 comments:

  1. I'm very conservative on matters of immigration but as far as I'm concerned IF YOU SERVED IN THE US MILITARY YOU ARE AN AMERICAN!

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    1. Yes let them become Citizens. God Bless them. Best regards, nam vet

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    2. this is not right. if you serve in our military and leave with an honorable discharge you should be offered citizenship if you want it. i thought that was the case already.

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    3. I second this 100% it doesn’t get more American than that. This man was willing to die for our freedom and he was treated as a foreign invasor of the worst kind. Shameful.

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    4. There's a path to citizenship for everyone who serves, but if they come in on phony papers through a dirty recruiter, there's no reason to think they didn't join just to harm the force.

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    5. I thought if you were from another country, had a good record in the military and did a few t years you got US citizenship.

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  2. Every soldier that serves in the U.S should automatically be made a citizen if honorably discharged IMO

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    1. We all know that promises are made to be broken. Especially when it pertains to citizenship. All thanks to Bill Clinton's administration.
      It's grossly unfair that the US government falsly guarantees non-citizens with citizenship for military service personnel. Despite convictions like many who have served their time in prison. Deportations are becoming increasingly common among soldiers in the United states.

      All along while many of these same political leaders dodge military service. Such hypocrites!

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    2. Wholeheartedly agree. This should be a non-issue, and Trump should be pardoning all pending deportation cases for those who verifiably served.

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    3. I agree if they are risking there lives to defend our country then they should be made a citizen

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    4. 100% agree with you, I have veteran friends and they deserve everything they need without all the garbage that happens when they ask for just a little. Plus this guy was an HONARABLE discharge, not like he got kicked out. It's a total disgrace and just more proof the media works for the government (since there's no mention of this happening to so many) and big business. I'm sorry you were treated this way by our government, you deserved much better.

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    5. Agreed 100% . Respect !!!

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    6. I could not agree more.
      This should be a separate issue, especially for those having been deployed

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  3. Seen this individual from the premiere of Ready for War documentary on Showtime.
    A controversial issue for many. Moreover, a threat to those who acquire their skills in Mexico for criminal activities.
    An article from Mexico's Daily News states that Calderon's campaign (war on drugs) was necessary to combat Mexicos security. I can only imagine the contrary from many opinionated readers here.

    E42




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  4. Movies like The Gringo and The Mule and even breaking bad always portray Americans kind of getting into the drug business by chance or as a mistake or that they truly regret it and almost make it seem that no harm was done even though the main characters eventually are aprehended by the cops.
    Many Americans after watching these movies kind of even cheer for these characters as well.
    When it comes to immigrants and stories like these where actual survival perhaps does mean getting into the drug trade these same Americans scold very boldly and loudly their discontent for these actions regardless.
    Kind of a double standard or plain racist given the two races involved in these talks.

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    1. When your checking account doesn't cover much nowadays. Many revert to the unsavory practices for ends meet.
      Jobs are scarce and underpaid. While companies prosper with generous profits.

      It's a matter of time A.I. will deplete most white collar jobs. Resulting with the reliance of government assistance for those suffering. Which I truly believe is not in their budget.

      E42

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    2. 5:31 yet it seems like Americans do not care that immigrants face those same or worse challenges.
      The way you describe American challenges is exactly what I, was pointing out however. Kind of making us wanting to feel pity for Americans yet not for anybody else.

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    3. E 42 there you go. Cry me a river. Making it seem that Americans have legitimate reasons for joining the drug trade yet those living south of the border that live in far less poverty and more problems still have none. You proved the point.

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    4. Just stipulating a fact why some resort to criminal activities. Moreover, why many senior citizens still work due to price inflation for prescriptions. Along with cuts to health insurers.
      Suggest you pay closer attention to your surroundings. Ask yourself why? To see an elderly person bagging groceries is a disgrace. Raising retirement age for the sole purpose of collecting taxes. Added with the rise of housing prices.
      Poverty is becoming increasingly common among people in the US. Those fortunate enough have no need to worry.
      Legitimacy depends on one's ability to overcome ones integrity. Government lacks human resources for many.

      I am fortunate to have instilled education to my children. A requirement to not live on one's knees. And proud to say my son is in his 2 year of medical should. Always reassuring and supportive for a better future.

      I must admit that there are some who simply don't apply oneself with success. Like many who are content with ignorance.

      E42

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    5. Have yet to hear the poor being content!
      Especially when one's decision to eat or pay a utility bill.

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  5. We good enough to die for this country but not good enough to be citizens smh

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    1. It doesnt magger how you " feel ". There are rules for a reason. Do it legally like the rest of us and save your sob story.

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    2. Stfu idiot 😂 im not speaking for myself just remembering what my veteran friend told me once.

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    3. So let these words become a lesson

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  6. I served got deported and will never serve another country ni mi mexico not worth it no vale la pena

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    1. The atrocities of wars are the result of political powers. Added with financial ambitions. Thus; not those of the majority of its people.
      Love to see the day our leaders duke it out for resolvement. Only when pigs fly of course.

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  7. Agree with 1:14 100%. But I'm very surprised you were even granted citizenship after being convicted and deported. Glad it worked out and thank you for your service.

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  8. "home is where the heart is"
    The US is where he considers home,he fought,he loves the US with no pretensious shit about Mexico?He has more right than 1000s of others to be given leave to stay.Not good examples for others who may be treated similarly.

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  9. Near or at the top of the long list of things the US gov totally effs up, is the treatment of it's military veterans. It's getting worse. I'm glad I served a long time ago, so my Bennie's are half ass at least. The poor guys/gals serving the last 25yrs are getting screwed worse than the 'Nam vets. JMO

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    1. Flaws in our system my brother. Another reason to let our voices be heard on behalf of these atrocities that soldiers endured.
      Happy Holidays Granderojo

      E42

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    2. Playboy it’s good to see you back GrandeRojo

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    3. Best wishes to all here on BB.
      Time for ice skating with family & friends now. Along with Hot chocolate & treats.
      Peace my brothers

      E42

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    4. 3:30 like always Grande rojo talking nonsense. The Vietnam vets got it WORSE but seems like in this age of drugs (legal and illegal) the general population depends on them more than ever before. the term "PTSD" for veterans is new and didn't get ANY attention in the NAM era.. This generation are just drug dependent.. Just saying...NAVY VET

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  10. Thank you to you for the Dedication and ganas to Protect and serve our country USA. Your injuries that are not physically obvious don’t go unnoticed to me and my family. Thank you for sharing a page of your journey with us. God bless you

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  11. Ha ha the authorities didnt want you to join the cartel and train a bunch of commandos dude

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    1. Go play with your CRAYONS kid.

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    2. Again I posted this but it didn't get "approved" this whole thing is a bunch of exaggeration and the author is doing exactly what the MSM does. Click bait and keeping the truth censored, shame on you!

      There was one guy in Juarez who exaggerated this to the people filming two documentaries. No one else here in Juarez is joining the cartels. Most of them still get their check from Uncle Sam!

      Even permanent residents can get deported by the way.

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  12. So your good enough to die for this country but not good enough to be a U.S. citizen or at least a permanent resident...yeah fuc**king right.

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  13. I wonder what the other side of the story is. A documentary is from someones point of view which is an opinion and not necessarily facts.

    I.hope this homie can conquer the ptsd and get better.

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    1. Money is plentiful for wars. Never for treating these poor soldiers.

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  14. You serve in our military you deserve citizenship, period. Commit a crime, do your time but still a citizen.
    If you are illegal go back or get sent back home and submit papers to enter like every other country in the world requires.

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    1. Lol white race never had to worry about foreign policy gtfoh with that papers process shit its all just a big fraud to take money from foreign humans . that's like saying the native Americans have a RIGHT! to do a genocide against whites for the genocides the Yankees caused upon the natives .

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  15. sending military advisors south of the border and later complaining about violence.

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  16. There is the rule and the exceptions to the rule. If one is not a natural born citizen, and is convicted of a crime, the consequences include deportation, denial of naturalization, and exclusion from our country. Quite simple.

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  17. Jesus how many times does it take for you people to know and accept your government DOES NOT CARE IT DOESN'T GIVE 2 SHITS ABOUT ITS SOLDIERS Jesus Christ man seriously you are crying for help the very same people who fucking tossed to the curb like a dog . its no wonder changes don't happen because we CIVILIZED PEOPLE are the ones who have to make the change LMAO LEGISLATORS will never change the law to help them cmon how stupid do you think that sounds the U.S governments policy is not about CHANGE! get it through your head its ( CAPITALISM AND IMPERIALISM ).

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  18. Something doesn't add up. If his grandfather was a US citizen by birth in the US then his father should also have been a US citizen regardless of whether he went to Mexico. Depending on how his father acquired US citizenship, he may have been a US citizen from birth. At the very least his father could have filed a petition for him to have US residency. IS that what happened that allowed him to finally become a citizen?

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