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He Risked His Life Twice As A Marine Fighting In Iraq And Now He Could Be Deported Back To El Salvador

Across the U.S. border, there’s an organization called Deported Veterans Support House that helps to transition servicemen and women that were in the U.S. military but ended up being deported because of their denied citizenship. It’s bizarre and perplexing to think about how many people sign up to serve and protect the rights of American citizens, in order to become citizens themselves only to be rejected. That’s the infuriating situation that many people have found themselves in due to logistical matters instilled by the U.S. government. 

A 38-year-old Marine veteran who served two tours in Iraq is now facing deportation to El Salvador because of crimes he committed after his time in the service. 

It’s common knowledge that some veterans face post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after they wrap up their tours overseas. And in many instances, for a variety of reasons, veterans can’t get the mental help they deserve. It is that chain of events that may lead Jose Segovia Benitez’s to be deported back to El Salvador — a country he hasn’t lived in since he was 3-years-old. Segovia Benitez was an undocumented immigrant when he went to serve in Iraq during 1999-2004. 

Many undocumented immigrants enlist to join the army in order to become citizens. The government has made that promise to people as a path to citizenship. What they don’t tell you is that enrolling in the U.S. military doesn’t automatically make you a citizen. There’s still a ton of paperwork to fill out, and it has to be done by the person who is seeking citizenship. Deported veterans have complained that they didn’t realize they had to be the ones to fill out the paperwork

There are also strict regulations put upon those service members. For example, if you’re seeking to be a U.S. citizen through the military, you must have a clean record after you serve. 

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If a veteran gets into any kind of trouble with the law, that is an automatic strike against them, and now their citizenship is in jeopardy. That’s the case with deported veterans, including Segovia Benitez.

The Hill reports that Segovia Benitez began to have minor offenses after he was honorably discharged from the military in 2004. A clear sign of PTSD, which went untreated. NBC News also reports that he suffered a brain injury while serving, and despite that, he was awarded several medals for his service. 

“If he would have had the resources to have legal representation back then, he would not be facing this right now,” Carlos Luna, president of Green Card Veterans, told NBC News. Luna is also helping Segovia Benitez’s case. “Even further, if he would have had the medical resources available that he needed, then he may not have ever ended up in a courtroom.”

Last year, a judge ordered his deportation, but lawyers for Segovia Benitez have spent a year appealing that decision. Last week, he was put on a plane to El Salvador and was then ordered to be taken off that flight. 

His supporters continue to fight for Segovia Benitez to remain in the country. His mother sent a plea to Gov. Gavin Newsom and said, “please help us. This is the country he belongs in, the country he fought for,” she said, according to NBC News. 

Under President Donald Trump, we’ve seen other similar cases in which undocumented veterans were deported. 

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Miguel Perez Jr., who served two tours in Afganistan, was deported to Mexico in the middle of the night after living in the U.S. for 30 years. “I’m not leaving,” Perez Jr. said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in April. “They’re taking me.” He added, “Not for 30 seconds was I illegal in this country. I went to war for this country out of love for this country. I was given birth in Mexico and life in the U.S.”

Last year, Enrique Salas, who also served in the military for several years and was deported because of his drug abuse, was only able to return to the U.S. after he was dead

Salas was en route back to the U.S. because his sister said he was in desperate need of medical help. However, he never made it back. He died in the ambulance. The government did give him a proper military burial. 

Before his death, Salas made a statement to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report titled “Discharged, then Discarded: How U.S. veterans are banished by the country they swore to protect.” He said, “My parents gave two of their children to the Marine Corps, and now they’ve lost both of us.”

There seems little hope for Segovia Benitez, but his supporters are taking whatever faith is left. A Department of Homeland Security told The Hill that Segovia-Benitez is currently detained in an ICE detention center “pending removal.”

According to the Committee on Deported Veterans, there are an estimated 1,500 veterans that have been deported.

READ: After Four Years Fighting In The Marines, This Deported Veteran Came Back To The US In A Casket

ICE Subpoenas Denver Officials Requesting Info On Undocumented Migrants But State Lawyer Says They’re Not Valid

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ICE Subpoenas Denver Officials Requesting Info On Undocumented Migrants But State Lawyer Says They’re Not Valid

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It is the right, under the constitution, of state and local governments, including law enforcement, to refuse to cooperate with federal law. In other words, if the federal government issues a mandate, local officials do not have to comply. That is why some cities abide by Sanctuary policies to protect undocumented immigrants that are being persecuted by government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, ICE isn’t bowing down to the constitution and is taking matters to the courts. 

Earlier this week, Homeland Security has issued a subpoena to Denver law enforcement to get information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who were previously in custody. 

“Since we have no cooperation at the Denver justice center, we are modifying our tactics to produce information,” Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said, according to the Associated Press

According to the AP, Denver officials have 14 days to respond to the subpoena in three of the cases, but in the other, they have three days to respond. ICE officials allege that all four foreign nationals have been in jail for sexual assault and child abuse and have been previously deported.

“In the past, we had full support. We collaborated in the interest of public safety,” Lucero added. “This is a drastic change. And one ICE is forced to do and puts other agencies on notice that we don’t want this to happen. We want to protect the public.”

Officials at the Denver mayor’s office said they would not comply with the demands of ICE because the paperwork issued by ICE are not proper subpoenas but rather administrative forms and not legal document signed by a judge. 

“The documents appear to be a request for information related to alleged violations of civil immigration law,” Chad Sublet, Senior Counsel to the Department of Safety in Denver, wrote, according to Time magazine. “Based on these facts, we are denying your request.”

Sublet also said that Denver officials have collaborated with ICE on information previously with other requests. He showed documentation that proves Denver responded to “88 requests by ICE between October and December of last year.”

Despite the support of local officials of Sanctuary policies, the majority of those cities have been struck by ICE as they have conducted numerous raids there, including in Denver. 

Cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago all have protections in place for undocumented people, but that has only fueled ICE to conduct raids there and elsewhere. Last year in September, ICE conducted raids in Colorado and Wyoming and, within four days, arrested 42 undocumented immigrants. 

“It is our belief that state sanctuary policies [do] not keep the community safe,” John Fabbricatore, the acting director of the Denver ICE field office, said last year, according to KDVR news. 

“We don’t believe deportation is ever the answer to what criminal activity might be going on,” Jordan García, with the Colorado Rapid Response Network, said in response to the raids

In 2017, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed a law that stated law officials would not comply with ICE in any capacity. 

The Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act was first signed unanimously by the Denver City Council, which was then signed by Mayor Hancock. The mandate “bans city officials from asking an arrested individual’s immigration status.”

While some city officials have prohibited the collaboration between local officials and federal agencies, that has not stopped some from working with ICE to arrest undocumented immigrants. 

Last year in September, the Milwaukee Police Department assisted ICE agents in the detainment of a local resident who was undocumented. Even though Milwaukee does not have a Sanctuary policy in place, Police Chief Morales had previously said a year before they would not collaborate with ICE. 

“I promised to bring back the public trust,” Morales said in 2018. “My job is to bring (back) trust from the community and work with them; my job is not to go out and enforce those types of laws.”

Those statements are why people were outraged that local Milwaukee officers assisted ICE in the detainment of an undocumented father. 

“Chief Morales is gonna love to see police collaborating with ICE,” a bystander said last year as he witnessed ICE and local police working together during that arrest. The Mayor of Milwaukee and police stood on the same grounds that police would “not inform federal immigration officials of whereabouts or behavior of any suspect illegal immigrant.” However, that’s only if a person has never been arrested for a serious crime. 

READ: Woman Records Scene Inside Family Car As ICE Pulls Husband Out While Daughters Cry And Scream

Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

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Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

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White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is still in office, despite mounting proof that he harbors white supremacist’s beliefs and numerous politicians and activists calling for his resignation. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” vertical published a series of Miller’s emails leaked by an ex-Breitbart news editor. 

In the emails, Miller expressed fear that DREAMERs would replace white Americans and suggested deporting immigrants on trains to scare them. SPLC’s Michael Hayden says Miller is a supporter of the “great replacement theory” championed by white supremacists who fear white people will become a racial minority. The theory has been echoed in the manifestos of mass shooters and prominent white supremacist leaders. 

Miller believes his fellow Republicans aren’t hard enough on immigrants. 

“Demanding DREAMers be given citizenship because they ‘know no other home.’ That principle is an endorsement of perpetual birthright citizenship for the foreign-born,” Miller wrote in an email.  “Not only will the U.S.-born children of future illegal immigrants and guest workers be made automatic U.S. citizens, but their foreign-born children will too because, as [former Republican House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor said, ‘Our country was founded on the principle.’”

Miller praised Florida’s very own former governor Jeb Bush for his use of moderate rhetoric to push extreme policies. The emails leaked are from around 2015, when Miller was an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions before being selected by Trump.

 “Jeb [Bush] has mastered the art of using immigration rhetoric to sound ‘moderate’ while pushing the most extremist policies,” Miller wrote in an email. 

Former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh provided over 900 emails to SPLC in which Miller expressed disdain for non-white immigrants. McHugh says she leaked the emails addressed to her from Miller to expose the hidden “evil” of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 

“In a November 2015 email that Hatewatch has not previously published, Miller forwarded an interview with Phyllis Schlafly from far-right conspiracy website WorldNetDaily that argued undocumented immigrants should be shipped out on trains to ‘scare out the people who want to undo our country,’” according to SPLC. 

25 interfaith groups call for the resignation of Stephen Miller. 

Yesterday, 25 faith groups, among them many prominent Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders including the Anti-Defamation League, The Nation’s Mosque, and African American Ministers in Action, signed a letter calling for Miller’s resignation. 

“Stephen Miller authored many of these destructive policies and helped ensure their enactment via his network of anti-immigrant officials throughout the federal government. Further, these policies have been paired with heightened and unrelenting anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric coming from the White House,” the organizations said. 

The group also called out the Trump administration for allowing white supremacist views in the White House. 

“At one point in history, harboring a white supremacist in the White House could harm an administration. Today, President Trump appears unbothered by his close official’s ties to white supremacy. This cannot stand. As organizations of many faiths, who feel love and respect where Miller advances disdain and hate, we call for his resignation immediately,” the letter stated

Last November 100 lawmakers demanded Stephen Miller resign. 

Miller has been in the hot seat for a while. Last year 100 lawmakers demanded the advisor’s resignation, a couple of weeks ago 25 Jewish members of congress joined that call following Rolling Stone’spublication of a different set of leaked emails that further establish his support of xenophobic ideas. 

“A documented white nationalist has no place in any presidential administration, and especially not in such an influential position,” the 100 representatives wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. “Miller’s white supremacist influence on your immigration policy, and it seems like that his perfidious adherence to extremist ideology has shaped your administration in ways that are not yet public.”

In the Rolling Stone emails, Miller called refugees “foreign-born terrorists” and expressed a fondness for a book called “Camp of Saints” which is a favorite of neo-Nazis.

“The dystopian 1973 novel is widely regarded as racist and traffics in fear-mongering about immigrant invasions. It is popular among white nationalist circles and has been invoked by former White House aide Steve Bannon and Iowa Congressman Steve King,” according to Newsweek

Other emails show Miller is using his influence in the White House to coordinate anti-immigration policies that reflect his views. 

“In the emails, [senior advisor at ICE Jon] Feere strategizes with Miller about how to use the federal government to amplify their anti-immigration message; tees up potential attacks on prominent Democratic politicians; directly briefs Miller in great detail about upcoming enforcement actions and policy changes in the works; and recommends to Miller people the administration should hire to expedite its immigration agenda,” according to Rolling Stone

While Miller has still not resigned, the pressure is continuing to mount in Congress and among activists.