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.

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

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