UPDATE: An army veteran who served in Afghanistan and will likely be deported began a hunger strike on Wednesday in protest of his potential fate.
After green card holder Miguel Perez Jr. was denied a federal court appeal to stay in the United States, he started his strike.
"If it comes down to me being deported, I would rather leave this world in the country I gave my heart for,” Perez told The Chicago Tribune in an interview.
The Trump administration is set to deport an Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan.
Mexican-born Miguel Perez Jr. came to Chicago with his family when he was only 8-years-old.
He joined the U.S. army in 2001 and served in Afghanistan. However, he was still not a citizen.
It was after the second tour to Afghanistan that the life of the army veteran went downhill. During his time in the South Asian country, Perez suffered a brain injury from an explosion.
He returned to Chicago, but this time with a post traumatic stress disorder.
The injury and PTSD made it difficult for the veteran to find a suitable job at home.
As a last resort, he started selling drugs, according to his friends and family.
In 2008, Perez was sentenced 15-years in prison when he pleaded guilty for selling more than two pounds of cocaine to an undercover officer.
In 2017, when he had already served half of his sentence, he was placed in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be transferred to a detention facility in Wisconsin.
The army veteran has since been fighting for his right to live in the U.S. and not be deported.
Perez believes his life in Mexico will be in danger and his lawyer Chris Bergin is arguing for his safety.
It is to be noted that under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the U.S. agrees not to deport people to countries where they could be tortured.
A three-judge panel for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals still rejected that argument.
Bergin pointed out the hypocrisy in how the country treats some American military service members.
“If you’re going to put your hand on your hearts every time at a game, you’re going to say thank you for your service and wear American flag lapel pins and you’re going to criticize football players for taking a knee during the national anthem, it seems that’s all superficial and false patriotism if you’re not caring about an actual military veteran,” Perez’s attorney said.
The ruling has left his family in “distraught,” as his two children, who are both U.S. citizens, said they won’t be able to see their father if he is deported.
Perez’s mother, Esperanza, said, “He defended this country, and the same system wants to throw him away like garbage.”
The attorney said he hoped somebody at ICE “has a sense of decency and says, ‘Look, we’ve got to credit the service this guy did.’”
Thumbnail/ Banner : Reuters/Emmanuel Braun