It’s Veteran’s Day and over at Fusion, Jorge Rivas looks at the roughly 35,000 undocumented immigrants who serve in the United States military. In the case of one, Manuel de Jesus Castano, the criminal justice and immigration systems overlap with heartbreaking consequences.
Castano’s friends say he was deported for a misdemeanor based on allegations that were retracted after he had already been deported.
Castano passed away at age of 55 in June 2012, about a year after he was deported. He died away from his family, including his sons who also served in the military.
Only then, after death, could he return to the U.S. According to military policy, honorably discharged veterans, even those who have been deported, are entitled to burial at a U.S. military cemetery.
Fellow veteran Clavo Martinez, who helped bring Castano’s body back to the U.S. for burial, put it this way: “Deported veterans aren’t considered citizens again until their body is dead.”