Army veteran deported after drug conviction now a US citizen

CHICAGO (AP) — An Army veteran deported to Mexico after serving time in prison for a drug conviction has become a U.S. citizen.

Miguel Perez Jr. held up his citizenship certificate for the cameras Friday after being sworn in, saying, “Here it is.”

Perez, who was raised in Chicago, had a green card. But after serving 7½ years for a 2008 nonviolent drug conviction, the 41-year-old was deported last year. He was granted permission last month by immigration officials to re-enter the country for another chance to become a U.S. citizen. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pardoned him in August.

Perez joined the Army in 2002 and served in Afghanistan, where he suffered a brain injury and was diagnosed with PTSD.

Perez had been living in the Mexican border town of Tijuana following his deportation.


This story has been corrected to show that Perez joined the Army in 2002, not before 9/11.

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