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‘As American as anyone’: Chicago veteran faces deportation after two tours of duty in Afghanistan

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A Chicago veteran is facing and fighting deportation after spending time in prison for drug charges, the Chicago Tribune reported. Miguel Perez Jr., 38, was born in Mexico and is presently a legal permanent resident of the U.S. He served two tours in Afghanistan.

Perez, who has lived in the U.S. for the last 30 years now faces possible deportation to Mexico over a felony drug conviction, but his case is not isolated. Experts who have tracked veteran deportations put the exact number in the thousands, though the Department of Homeland Security claims to not keep count, according to PBS News Hour. However, the American Civil Liberties Union estimates that number is in the hundreds.

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Perez thought that upon taking an oath to serve in the military, that he also became a U.S. citizen; however, he learned that was not the case upon receiving a summons for immigration court after his release from a state prison.

He had served seven years in prison on drug charges “for handing over a bag of cocaine to an undercover police officer,” the Tribune reports. Perez has since been in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and awaits deportation in a Wisconsin immigration detention center.

An immigration judge will determine on Monday whether Perez will be deported or not. According to numbers from the Tribune, there are nearly 18,700 legal permanent residents in the armed forces, and over 109,000 service people became citizens by the end of 2015.

In a comment on Perez’s case, ICE spokeswoman Gail Montenegro said in a statement, “ICE respects the service and sacrifice of those in military service, and is very deliberate in its review of cases involving U.S. military veterans,” adding, “Any action taken by ICE that may result in the removal of an alien with military service must be authorized by the senior leadership in a field office, following an evaluation by local counsel.”

Perez hasn’t lived in Mexico since he was 8 years old and his attorney, Chris Bergin, argues that returning would put his life in danger. “Being removed to Mexico, where he would be at risk of being killed … being separated from his whole family and the only country he has ever known, seems to be a punishment that does not fit the crime,” said Bergin.

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Veterans, including both U.S. citizens and green-card holders will head to Washington on Tuesday to lobby Congress in hopes that Perez will be released. Regarding his own case, Perez says, “The sweat, tears and sometimes blood we shed for this country makes us as American as anyone born here.”


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Larry Kramer, author, activist, ACT UP founder dead at 84

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Larry Kramer, the playwright, AIDS activist, author, public health advocate, and LGBTQ activist who founded GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis) and later ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), is dead at 84.

The New York Times reports Kramer's husband, David Webster, said he died of pneumonia.

Kramer was known as an outspoken activist who wielded hyperbole like a sword.

“One of America’s most valuable troublemakers,” Susan Sontag called him.

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CNBC anchors argue on air: ‘100,000 people died… all you did was try to help your friend the president’

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CNBC anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin on Wednesday accused co-anchor Joe Kernen of providing political help to President Donald Trump instead of reporting factual news about the coronavirus pandemic.

Kernen appeared to get under Sorkin's skin by dismissing questions about the relatively quick market comeback as the rest of the economy suffers in the midst of the pandemic.

"Joe, you missed [the stock market] 100% on the way down and you missed 100,000 deaths," Sorkin said. "So we can have this debate back and forth and you can try and question the questions I'm asking."

"Hold on!" Sorkin shouted when Kernen tried to interrupt him.

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A closer look at Trump COVID contractors reveals inexperience, fraud accusations and a weapons dealer operating out of someone’s house

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A firm set up by a former telemarketer who once settled federal fraud charges for $2.7 million. A vodka distributor accused in a pending lawsuit of overstating its projected sales. An aspiring weapons dealer operating out of a single-family home.

These three privately held companies are part of the new medical supply chain, offered a total of almost $74 million by the federal government to find and rapidly deliver vital protective equipment and COVID-19 testing supplies across the U.S. While there’s no evidence that they obtained their deals through political connections, none of the three had to bid against competing firms. One has already lost its contract for lack of performance; it’s unclear if the other two can fulfill their orders on time, or at all.

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