A federal appeals panel in Chicago shot down arguments this week from an Army veteran facing deportation to Mexico, where he is a citizen, following a drug conviction.
A lawyer for Miguel Perez-Montes asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month to defer his client’s deportation. A three-judge panel denied Perez-Montes’ petition Wednesday in a four-page opinion.
Perez-Montes came to the United States in 1989 as a lawful permanent resident. He was in the country legally when he joined the Army in 2001 before serving two tours in Afghanistan. However, the appellate court said his eligibility ended in 2010, when he was convicted of a cocaine offense. He has been held at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Wisconsin since his release from prison in September 2016.
Perez-Montes’ family and supporters blamed his error in judgment on head injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from his time in the military. They said it went untreated until he finally received medical attention behind bars.
His attorney, Christopher Bergin, also told the appellate judges the military did nothing to assist him in achieving U.S. citizenship.
Bergin could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday morning.
Contributing: Ashlee Rezin