Immigration advocates in Connecticut are fighting to stop the planned deportation of a U.S. Army veteran who came to the United States from Peru as a teenager and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jorge Luis Salcedo of Glastonbury, who has a green card, was notified this week of his pending removal after completing a prison sentence. He has two convictions for driving under the influence and pleaded guilty in a 2003 case in which he spit at a police officer.
Activists gathered Thursday outside the Legislative Office Building in Hartford to protest the removal of Salcedo, whose wife and daughters are American citizens.
"Instead of providing this veteran with much-needed medical treatment for his alcoholism, the government is trying to deport him away from his family and the country for which he risked everything," Olga Tomchin of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said in a press release.
Supporters say Salcedo has post-traumatic stress syndrome from his service and was honorably discharged after eight years in the U.S. military.
Salcedo legally immigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 14 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1994.
Immigration activists say that he began suffering from PTSD after the death of his first daughter Madeline at birth due to a genetic defect and watching a fellow soldier die during a training accident.
He began to treat his PTSD-related depression with alcohol and, due to the immigration detainer that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed on Salcedo, he is not able to attend classes to address his alcohol dependency while in jail.
"Our family is suffering gravely now and will continue to suffer more the emotional, financial, and familial hardships. We will suffer more than he will suffer if he is deported," his wife Cindy said. "The effects of not having Jorge at home have been devastating."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.