A once-undocumented U.S. Marine — and Iraq war veteran — is now an American citizen.
Daniel Torres, 30, was sworn in Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Customs and Immigration building in downtown San Diego.
Torres was born in Tijuana, but came to the United States with his family when he was 15. After his family’s visas expired, they stayed on in the country. Torres joined the military partly because he wanted to gain his citizenship, and partly because he wanted to serve the United States — a country that he says he has felt was his home since he first arrived.
Torres joined the Marines in 2007, with the help of an enthusiastic military recruiter and a faked birth certificate. He was quickly sent to Iraq. After his unit returned to the United States, Torres lost his wallet — and at that point, everything fell apart. When the Department of Motor Vehicles looked into his records, it discovered that he had used falsified documents to enlist.
Technically, Torres wasn’t deported. Instead, he found himself unable to re-enlist in the military as he had planned, unable to find work and unable to take out loans or receive grants to go to school. Finally, Torres moved to Tijuana.
The process by which Torres found himself back in the country in which he was born, unable to find work or go to school, is known as “attrition by enforcement,” or “soft deportation.”
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I am totally against illegal immigration. BUT, if you serve in our armed forces and are honorably discharged or re-enlist, you should be sworn in as a citizen before separation from active duty.. there is absolutely no excuse for this. There are war veterans stuck in TJ that need the services of the VA, they EARNED that. This garbage has to end ...