(FOX 11) - A United States Army veteran returned home Wednesday morning after being deported to Mexico eight years ago.
“I’m excited, I’m very happy to be back home and get reunited with my family,” Fabian Rebolledo said.
The veteran served three years with the 82nd Airborne Division where he was deployed to Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission.
Nearly a decade after leaving the service, he was deported on check fraud charges and driving with a suspended license.
“When I got removed from the states I ended up in Tijuana,” he said. “No money, no clothes, no one to contact, no family so I was sleeping on the streets.”
Rebolledo learned he wasn’t the only veteran in this situation.
In Tijuana he met dozens of other deported veterans and began his work with the organization Deported Veterans of America.
Lawyers with UC Irvine’s Immigrant Rights Clinic helped sort his case and after six years of waiting a judge finally granted him permission to return.
“Even though the country made a mistake, I’m coming back with my uniform saying I’m still a solider and if you call me I’ll still give you my life to defend the constitution,” he said.
Rebolledo is now working towards becoming a US citizen and plans to help other deported veterans living around the world.