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Supervisor Fletcher Seeks to Help Deported Veterans in Tijuana

12/09/19

See the full article by Celina Tebor in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Photo by Howard Lipin of the U-T. 

"San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is proposing a policy to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that would help deported vets receive services through the Department of Veterans affairs. He’s calling it 'Leave No Veteran Behind.'

Currently, veterans in unincorporated areas of San Diego county can reach veterans service officers digitally who are co-located at county libraries, through the Vet Connect Program.

"Fletcher wants to bring that same program to Tijuana. More specifically, to 'The Bunker, also known as the nonprofit called the Deported Veterans Support House. It helps U.S. veterans in Tijuana that have been deported, headed by Hector Barajas, who was deported to Mexico in 2004 but was pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017 and now pushes for legislative changes to help deported veterans.

"The Deported Veterans Support House has assisted many veterans with accessing their VA benefits, but Fletcher believes the government has a duty to assist its veterans, which might provide veterans with quicker access to benefits.

"'The work they’ve done is heroic,' Fletcher said. 'But it’s a complex system. At the county, we have an entire division of county government that exists to do this.'"