SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Marine Corps veteran deported to Mexico in 2002 after being convicted of animal cruelty will return home to Los Angeles before Christmas, a San Diego organization announced Monday.
Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year pardoned Marco Chavez and two other deported veterans, according to the San Diego-based Honorably Discharged, Dishonorably Deported Coalition, which assisted them in regaining their U.S. permanent residency status, according to the organization.
Chavez’s green card status was restored in court earlier this month, according to Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the coalition.
“No one who was willing to die for this country should be deported,” Fletcher said. “In a time when the immigration debate in America seems so dark, Marco Chavez’s historic legal victory and return home is a ray of light and hope.”
The date of Chavez’s return to Los Angeles, where he grew up, will be announced soon, according to coalition spokeswoman Heidi Martinez.
Chavez was born in Mexico and brought to California as an infant. He enlisted in the Marines at 19 as a lawful permanent resident.
He was convicted in 1998 of animal cruelty, served 10 months behind bars, and was deported four years later as a result of the conviction, according to media reports.
His family initially moved with him to Tijuana in an effort to stay together, and his wife, who did not speak Spanish, commuted daily to the U.S. for work. She and their three sons eventually moved to Iowa, according to reports.