Marine Combat Veteran Who Served in Iraq Facing Deportation to El Salvador - NBC New York
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Marine Combat Veteran Who Served in Iraq Facing Deportation to El Salvador

His family, advocates and lawyers say that while they do not excuse his past behavior, he did not get the treatment he needed for his PTSD and brain injury

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    Meeting Veterans’ Special Needs in Hospice
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    In this March 6, 2006, file photo, Mexican nationals who illegally crossed the California border are apprehended and handcuffed.

    Supporters of a Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq are calling on the California governor to help stop his imminent deportation to El Salvador, a country he left at 3 years old, NBC News reports.

    Jose Segovia Benitez, 38, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999-2004 and was deployed to Iraq, receiving multiple awards and decorations during his service, according to Marine and military records. His rib cage is tattooed with a large Statue of Liberty.

    "He is a soldier who put his life on the line to defend his country," his mother, Martha Garcia, said in Spanish. "But when he returned from the war, he came back with problems."

    His supporters said that when Segovia Benitez returned, he suffered from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury. He began self-medicating with alcohol and ran into trouble with the law, they said.

    While he previously had legal status, he was ordered to be removed from the country last year after serving several years in prison for drug and domestic violence-related convictions, according to immigration authorities.