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Vietnam War Veteran looks to stop deportation of American Vets

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Two brothers, both veterans, are working to stop the deportation of U.S. military veterans.

Fifty years ago, Manuel and Valente Valenzuela's mother, an American citizen, moved from Mexico back to the United States. However, despite their mother's citizenship status, immigration agents mistakenly registered them as non-U.S. citizens.

That wasn't an issue until after the brothers both fought in the Vietnam War in 1972.

Manuel explains how that war haunted him for decades. He suffered from PTSD, spiraled, and began using alcohol to escape reality.

"At that time when I came back from Vietnam, drinking was a way of medication and that right there alone was getting me into trouble, I did not go to the extremes of killing anybody, but I was really hurt," said Manuel.

Manuel said the drinking led him to get in trouble with the law. That triggered his deportation.

Holding back tears, he recalled the day he received his deportation notice in 2009, telling him to go back to Mexico.

"I couldn't tell nobody, I was hurt and in pain," said Manuel.

Manuel wasn't alone, thousands of veterans are deported back to their native countries every year for non-violent crimes. Many say they feel disrespected after serving in the U.S. Military.

Now, Manuel is traveling across the U.S. in his RV to preview the documentary 'American Exile' where he and his brother share their story of facing deportation as U.S. Military vets.

"They violated my rights and my brother's knowing that we have an American mother, and to me, that has to be answered," said Manuel.

The documentary will air on PBS on November 10.

Click here for the trailer of the documentary.

Colorado Springs / Local News / Video
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Jasmine Arenas

Jasmine is an MMJ and Anchor for Telemundo Surco and KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Jasmine here.



  1. I’m not for deporting him,but you had 40 years to fix this problem. Not to mention you blame Vietnam for your troubles in 2009.come on 40 years later. Now it’s 2021 and you are still living in the US? No wonder our immigration system is messed up. It’s taken 10 years to get this started. And you had 10 years to fix whatever crime got you into this mess. Don’t start crying about it now.

    1. Apparently you’ve never had to try arguing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (now called the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) or you would understand that it’s like arguing with a brick wall. Just because a mistake was made against an individual doesn’t mean they can necessarily ever get it fixed.

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