Since the American Revolution, our nation has naturalized noncitizens who served in our armed forces as a reward for their military service. Yet, at least 59 veterans who served have been deported in recent years by the country they swore to protect. Other noncitizen vets still in the United States fear deportation. This ugly truth was spotlighted when Gov. Jerry Brown wisely chose to exercise his pardon power before Easter Sunday for three veterans who now reside in Mexico.
The governor pardoned Hector Barajas Varela, Erasmo Apodaca Mendizabal and Marco Chavez. Each was honorably discharged and then committed crimes that landed them in a California prison. Each served his prison time and then was deported.
The governor’s pardons do not grant the right to return. The pardons recognize these three men “deserve a second chance and a second look,” according to his office.
The crimes of those pardoned were serious and they were punished. A just society would not have them pay a second debt of banishment.
Read the whole opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle