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Veteran faces possible deportation after legal woes

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Family and supporters are rallying around a veteran who may soon face deportation. The former Army soldier has had legal troubles that have resulted in jail time, and immigration officials are in the midst of pursuing deportation. Cases such as this have started a dialogue about veterans who are also immigrants. Should vets, whether from Maryland or another state, be subject to deportation despite their service to the country?

The man came to the United States when he was 14. He joined the Army and served honorably for eight years. Upon release from the Army, the man developed an alcohol problem. Brushes with the law soon followed. His family contends he has post-traumatic stress syndrome and that his alcoholism is a direct result of PTSD.

The 40-year-old vet has had several driving under the influence convictions, although the exact number was not reported. He apparently spit upon an officer during one incident. This resulted in a guilty plea for assaulting an officer. After that incident and upon completion of probation, the man then served 15 months in prison for another DUI conviction. This opened the door to deportation proceedings.

The man's wife has sought help from area lawmakers. She says she and her children are suffering greatly and will suffer more if the man is deported. Immigration officials will not comment on the specific case.

Deportation can result in a family being left behind and an immigrant having to start a new life in a country that the immigrant may not have been to for an extended amount of time, if ever as an adult. Issues related to deportation due to criminal convictions in the United States can become complex and hinge on the type of crime, extent of criminal history and many other circumstances. Those who know and support Maryland veterans dealing with certain military-related issues may benefit from seeking advice about what options may be available if deportation is threatened or a real possibility.

Source: courant.com, "Glastonbury U.S. Army Veteran Facing Deportation", Gregory B. Hladky, May 14, 2015

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