Enrique Salas used his personal social media account to share articles about deported veterans. The military veteran was an impassioned advocate for the rights of undocumented servicemen and women facing deportation. This is the reality for many service members, including Salas. Salas, who served four active years with the Marines did get back to the U.S. to his family, in a casket.
For years, Enrique Salas fought for the United States and the freedom Americans enjoy.
Happy tbt keep me in your prayers hope to b home soon.
As an undocumented immigrant, one way to try to become a U.S. citizen is to join the military. Salas did that at the age of 17 by joining the Marines.
According to The Fresno Bee, Salas was on active duty with the Marines for four years and served in the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
“He was honorably discharged in 1992 after serving in the Persian Gulf War, his military record rife with commendations including National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Ribbon, and Good Conduct Medal. He remained in the Marine Reserve until 1996,” The Fresno Bee reports.
However, Salas battled with drug addiction and, in 2004, he was convicted for possession of a controlled substance for sale. This conviction got him deported to Mexico in 2006.
Im ready to come home family and friends i really love all the support and positive vibes im getting thank you. Muchas gracias a todos por su apoyo positivo.
Salas was deported back to Mexico in 2006 because he never applied for his citizenship before the 2004 conviction.
For the last 12 years he has lived in Tijuana, a place he had never known, but it’s the closest city to the U.S.
“My parents gave two of their children to the Marine Corps, and now they’ve lost both of us,” Salas said in a American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report titled “Discharged, then Discarded: How U.S. veterans are banished by the country they swore to protect.”
Salas was injured in a serious car accident this year in Tijuana and required serious medical attention.
This brother, deported for no fucking reason, passed away today. RIP Enrique Salas
According to The Fresno Bee, Miriam Rodriguez, Salas’s sister, applied for an emergency humanitarian parole visa so her brother could get better medical care in San Diego. Salas suffered a heart attack during the 10 days it took for the visa to be approved.
Salas died in the ambulance on his way from Tijuana to San Diego from trauma caused in the accident.
Lance Cpl. Enrique Salas, a Persian Gulf War veteran who was deported to Mexico in 2006, was buried with military honors in a Calif. cemetery on Friday beside his younger brother, another fallen Marine. https://t.co/Y5juXd7uYh
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) April 21, 2018
On April 12, at the age of 47, Salas suffered a second heart attack while on the way to San Diego and was pronounced brain dead. The drive from Tijuana to San Diego takes about an hour and it was too long for Salas.
He was given a U.S. military burial in his hometown of Reedley, California and is now buried next to his brother, another fallen veteran.
Veteran Lance Cpl. Enrique Salas arrived in America at age 6 and after 30 years in the United States, including four years of honorable active-duty military service, he was forced into exile.https://t.co/93RLGuKmQS https://t.co/93RLGuKmQS
— YoungDems Heidelberg (@DemsHeidelberg) April 24, 2018
“Unfortunately, we were not able to bring him back to the United States to seek the medical treatment that he’s entitled to in time to save his life,” Ricardo Franco, chairman of the Committee on Deported Veterans under the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party, told The Fresno Bee.
Salas’s cousin, Fred Martinez, told The Marine Corps Times, “This is a bad way to get back to the states.”
According to the Committee on Deported Veterans, there’s an estimated 1,500 veterans that have been deported.