Governor Jerry Brown Grants Easter Pardon To Deported Veterans
Governor Jerry Brown issued 72 pardons and seven sentence commutations for convicted felons on Saturday, according to the LA Times. This follows his tradition of considering felons' requests at Christmas and Easter every year. The pardons include three deported veterans, according to the nonprofit campaign Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported. The three veterans committed crimes after being discharged from the military and were subsequently deported after completing their prison sentences. Their crimes ranged from animal cruelty to breaking and entering, all of which are considered "deportable" offenses under immigration law. The pardoning will allow these men to apply for citizenship and return to the United States. All three men grew up in Southern California before serving in the military.
Hector Barajas, a paratrooper during Operation Desert Storm, was convicted for being in a car when a firearm discharged. After serving a two-year sentence, he was turned over to ICE and deported. He has since lived in Tijuana where he founded the Deported Veteran Support House.
Erasmo Apodaca, a discharged Marine, completed a sentence for breaking into his ex-girlfriend's home. His served a shorter sentence for good behavior but was subsequently deported to Mexico.
Marco Antonio Chavez Medina, also a discharged Marine, served time for animal cruelty, which immigration officers later deemed an "aggravated felony," leading to his deportation to Mexico. His family moved with him but eventually moved back to the United States because of language and employment barriers.
These three men now have the opportunity to apply for citizenship and reunite with their families in the United States.
HDDD chair Nathan Fletcher explained in a statement, "These veterans
sacrificed to defend their country and were promised full citizenship as part of their
military service." HDDD and ACLU SoCal have both commended Jerry Brown's decision to include these veterans in this current group of pardoned felons.