Decorated [and deported] veteran died in Mexico, this week

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Hector Barrios died this week. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of him. You have no reason to know who he is.

The short version: Hector was a decorated U.S. veteran who died abroad, impoverished and estranged from the country he loved and served, with none of the benefits entitled to him as a veteran.

Barrios was born in Tijuana, Mexico. In 1961, at the age of 18, he moved to the United States. In 1967, at the age of 24, he was drafted into the U.S. military to do his part for the war effort. He did not go back to Mexico or hide out in Canada. He did not dodge the draft or evade the call to duty. Hector spent a year in Vietnam, fighting for his adopted country…

Barrios was injured fighting for America, took head wounds in combat, but he survived the war and was able to return home.

“Thank God I came back. Many of my fellow soldiers didn’t make it back.”

Barrios received the Army Commendation Medal for exceptionally meritorious service and his discharge paperwork listed him as a U.S. citizen. He earned his citizenship with blood and his friends say he was proud to be an American…

And after being arrested and convicted for possession of marijuana, Barrios was summarily deported from the country…

“I had a green card. They took it away. But I have my citizenship of the United States in my service paperwork. I took an oath,” he says in a video recorded on the weekend before veteran’s day 2012.

…Hector lived out the rest of his life in Tijuana, in poverty…This man who fought and was injured serving America was allowed to live out the rest of his natural life with none of the Social Security or healthcare benefits veterans are entitled because he was caught with some pot…

Supporters of people like Hector are trying to get Congress to pass immigration reform bills that allow deported vets to return to their homes. I wouldn’t hold my breath as long as the most ignorant electorate in the Western world continues to vote the most heartless and hated politicians in the Western world back into office.

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