Deported Marine vet gets access to VA medical care ‘too late’

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LA JOLLA, Calif.  -- “I served in the United States Marine Corps,” were some of Jose Solorio’s final words, recorded in a cell phone video, before he was able to get access to the care his family believed he deserved and did not get since he was deported.

Solorio is a retired Camp Pendleton Marine.

He joined the service and fought for the U.S. even though he was a Mexican national living in the U.S. as a permanent resident, not a citizen.

After being honorably discharged, Solorio had a run-in with the law over a drug charge.

The veteran, who had lived in San Diego since the age of 3, was deported to Mexico in 2001.

Since then he developed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is terminal.

“I can’t believe the federal government would do this to someone like my dad,” said Jose Solorio Jr.

The veteran’s family said even though Solorio served this country, he went years without having access to medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs because of his deported status.

“There are dozens upon dozens of these cases, probably hundreds,” said Senior Staff Attorney with the San Diego American Civil Liberties Union, Bardis Vakili.

“And in many of these cases, many of these crimes that are deportable are controlled substances crimes that can be traced to issues involving mental health and service,” said Vakili.

Recently, in an unprecedented move, Customs and Border Protection officials granted Solorio a 60-day humanitarian visa, allowing him to enter the U.S. and seek treatment at the VA in La Jolla.

“He’s receiving great care, but it may be too late,” said Solorio Jr. "I just wish speaking out helps spread awareness and bring justice to veterans like my dad. This is a travesty that could’ve been prevented if he had access to care sooner,” said Solorio Jr.

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  • liam

    I can’t believe someone would commit a felony after the United States treated him so well his entire life. I hope the USA continues to deport felons.

    • Joey

      Liam always the butthole……were did you read felony in this story? I would love to deport you to Europe or were ever your ethnicity is. Probably think Walter Scott shot without prejudice. I want you out my country bigot

      • VH

        The only way to get deported after having permanent residency is to vomit a felony involving a crime of immortal turpitude( which includes drugs) and get convicted.. So, it had to be a felony..

    • scallions1

      You have no compassion or empathy. How do you know how he was treated his whole life? Your first reaction is to condemn and blame. The veteran of our armed forces needed help and didn’t get it. Doesn’t that even enter your mind?

  • Stu

    No matter what he did, upon his retirement they should have made him a US Citizen. He served the US for at least 20 years to retire, that makes him an American. If he was born in the US, the arrest wouldn’t have affected his VA care. He proved his allegiance to the USA, now it is our turn to show our allegiance to him. OOHRAH Marine.

  • Sylvia

    Please the part where it states he was
    After being honorably discharged, Solorio had a run-in with the law over a drug charge.

    The veteran, who had lived in San Diego since the age of 3, was deported to Mexico in 2001.

  • Gil Carr (@CaliSurfPunk)

    You don’t know the whole story…got desperate, made a mistake, served his time and the government turned their back on a patriot. Correction to the article, he was here LEGALLY with a Permanent Residence card since age 3. Parents went through the legal channels to reside in the U.S.

  • Esteban

    Horrible what vets must endure in battle fields…for our great nation…horrible what this great nation is doing to our them..

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