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KPBS Midday Edition

Gov. Brown’s Pardon Renews Hope For Deported Veteran

Hector Barajas-Varela is pictured in this undated image standing along the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border at Playas de Tijuana.
"Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported"
Hector Barajas-Varela is pictured in this undated image standing along the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border at Playas de Tijuana.
Gov. Brown’s Pardon Renews Hope For Deported Veteran
Gov. Brown’s Pardon Renews Hope For Deported Veteran GUEST: Hector Barajas-Varela, director and founder, Deported Veterans Support House

As part of his Easter holiday pardons, Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned three deported veterans.

Among them is Hector Barajas-Varela, an U.S. Army veteran who was honorably discharged from the military and now runs a shelter and support group in Tijuana for deported service members.

The pardon doesn't mean Barajas-Varela will automatically be allowed to return to the U.S. But he said it could make the process a little easier.

“I’m in the process of citizenship, so I believe the pardon is going to help out,” said Barajas-Varela. “It's never been done before so I don’t know if it’s going to take six months to a year. I’m excited. It gives me the opportunity at a second chance to be a better father, a better citizen.”

Barajas-Varela was a legal U.S. resident when he was deported in 2004 after serving time behind bars in connection with a shooting.

There are 239 deported veterans across 34 countries, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Barajas-Varela, director and founder of Deported Veterans Support House, discussed the issues affecting the deported veteran community, Wednesday on Midday Edition.