Target: United States President Barack Obama
Goal: Reverse unfair deportation of honorably discharged military veteran.
Despite serving in the American military for over a decade, Andres De Leon finds himself unable to enter the country for which he risked his life. De Leon was deported to Mexico following his arrest on drug-related charges, and now lives in poverty. The United States has an obligation to honor and protect its veterans, and De Leon’s treatment is simply unacceptable. This is a man who has dedicated his life to protecting the nation, and he deserves the right to live out his final years with his family and friends.
Private First Class Andres De Leon was born in Mexico and immigrated legally to the United States when he was 12 years old. He grew up in Madera, California, and when De Leon turned 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam. He served for 12 years and upon completion of his service was honorably discharged. Several decades later, at age 63, De Leon began to suffer from depression and became addicted to heroin. He was eventually arrested for possession and served three years at Soledad State Prison. In 2009, the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency informed him that he would be deported to Mexico.
De Leon now lives in the slums of Tijuana, Mexico. “I got no choice,” he said in a recent interview, “I have to stay here but I’m doing the best I can.” De Leon’s family has expressed serious concerns about his health, as he suffers from diabetes. “He wants to come home with his kids, his grandkids, his family,” said his sister Elizabeth. “It worries me very much that something might happen to my brother.”
Andres De Leon sacrificed his time and safety for 12 years with the military, and his current situation is a stain on the United States’ reputation. To prevent an elderly veteran with an honorable discharge from being with his family is unjust and cruel. De Leon made a mistake, but he has served his time in prison and repaid his debt to society. It is time for his punishment to finally come to an end. Sign the petition below to urge President Barack Obama to pardon this military hero.
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to express my concern over the plight of Andres De Leon. Although he served in the United States military for over a decade, De Leon, a veteran with an honorable discharge, now finds himself living in poverty in Mexico. De Leon was deported to Mexico following his arrest on drug-related charges. Private First Class De Leon was born in Mexico and immigrated legally to the United States. When De Leon turned 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served for 12 years. For his efforts, he received an honorable discharge.
In 2006, De Leon was arrested for possession of heroin and served three years at Soledad State Prison. Then, he was unjustly deported to Mexico, where he now resides in the slums of Tijuana. He lives far from his friends and family, unable to return to the country he loves and has worked so hard to protect.
Andres De Leon made a mistake, but he has served his time and atoned for his sins. Preventing an elderly veteran with an honorable discharge from being with his family is unjust and cruel. The man served the United States for over a decade, and he deserves to live out the remainder of his life surrounded by friends and family in the country that he loves so dearly. I urge you to pardon this man and allow him to come home.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Army