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After California pardon, deported veteran becomes US citizen

COMPTON, Calif. (CBS) - It has been a very long and emotionally charged journey, but now its finally over. U.S. Army Veteran Hector Barajas is now a U.S. citizen.

Posted: Apr 15, 2018 10:40 AM
Updated: Apr 15, 2018 10:42 AM

COMPTON, Calif. (CBS) - It has been a very long and emotionally charged journey, but now its finally over.

U.S. Army Veteran Hector Barajas is now a U.S. citizen.

Barajas woke up on Saturday in Tijuana where he's lived for years after being deported, he crossed the border and become a U.S. Citizen.

And now he's home in Southern California.

"I had a life deportation I thought I was never coming home it feels good," Barajas said.

Decorated Army veteran Hector Barajas left Compton a deportee, but he came home Saturday evening an American citizen.

"I get to live the American dream a second time," Barajas said.

He couldn't hide his pride this morning as he took the citizenship pledge in San Diego.

The one-time paratrooper had just come back into the U.S. from Tijuana where he been living and where he started a group for deported veterans like himself

"I feel regardless of what these men and women have done they shouldn't be deported it's morally wrong," Barajas said.

Barajas was first deported in 2004 when he was convicted of shooting at an occupied car.

Because he was a green card holder, not a citizen, the felony record triggered his deportation and barred him from becoming an American.

That is until last month when Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned him.

His red white and blue decked celebration is giving hope to many of those veterans.

And Barajas says he will continue to fight for them.

But first Barajas will fill up on his mother's enchiladas and on Monday a first with his
11-year-old daughter.

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