Viet Nam Vet Valenzuela Continues In Deportation
While immigrant’s rights groups have been protesting for comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act, a travesty of justice has been taking place in a silent corner of the immigrant community. Unbeknownst to most, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration (ICE) has been busy deporting veterans.
The most recent victim of an “Order For Removal” is Manuel Valenzuela who survived another round in the government’s effort to deport him today. Valenzuela appeared in Denver Immigration Court dressed in a tightly fitting Marine Corp uniform. His continued fight was placed on the docket for September of 2012 in endless legal wrangling perhaps even the judge did not understand.
“Is Mariela Sogastume representing you?” the judge asked.
“Yes, Sir!” replied Valenzuela.
You could not help but notice this was not the ordinary “Yes, your honor” reply. In fact, Valenzuela responded to the judge as if he were summoned by the general. If you didn’t get the point with the uniform, the manner and directness of his reply screamed, “I am a veteran!”
Yes, the uniform was tightly fitting. What do you expect after being out of the service for over 25 years? Manuel not only is a veteran, he is a Viet Nam veteran. He is the same guy who volunteered for service when an entire generation was seeking refuge in college. They called it "deferment" in those days. The idea was to go to school for so long that the war would be over before the student could graduate.
Maybe something good came out of Nam after all. Thousands of not-so-studious youths got multiple degrees in perfectly useless things like geology while waiting for others to get the dirty work over with, or die trying. Lots of soldiers died trying.
Needless to say, as men bled to death in Southeast Asian rice paddies, and a nation started singing Kum Ba Yah, Manuel was facing Viet Cong resistance flying rescue missions into mainland hot zones and pulling other soldiers out of harms way. These were the days when VC commandants considered soldiers more expendable than bullets because they had a lot more manpower than gun powder, and they had plenty of both!Continued on the next page