He served two combat tours in Afghanistan.
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He then developed a drug addiction that accused his family of PTSD and he went to jail for selling cocaine.
Now, US Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr. has been deported to Mexico by US Immigration and Customs, a decision Senator Tammy Duckworth says is "based more on hatred than logic."
It marks the end of a five-year battle for the former Army Pfc. Perez, 38, who his family says he falsely believed his military service had made him a US citizen.
Perez was flown on Friday from Gary, Indiana, to Brownsville, Texas, where he was escorted across the US-Mexico border and handed over to the Mexican authorities, according to an ICE statement.
Mexican-born Perez came legally to the United States at the age of eight and grew up in Chicago. He completed two missions in Afghanistan before being released with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, reports the WLS-TV ABC station in Chicago.
After being released from the army, Perez pleaded guilty to selling cocaine and served about seven years in prison.
Perez's mother, Esperanza Medina, told ABC News that her son had never formally applied for citizenship because he misunderstood the rules governing this process. As a result, ICE put Pere in a deportation trial in 2012 while serving his sentence.
Perez & # 39; s lawyer and his family trace his belief back to a time when Perez treated himself for pain related to his time on duty, they said.
Perez's lawyer, Christopher Bergin, added that Perez was "blown out of his Jeep in Kandahar" and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the explosion. Perez told the Chicago Tribune last month that grenades and bomb blasts during his tours caused him to lose much of his hearing and headaches.
Returning from Afghanistan, Perez told the Tribune he yearned to escape the adrenaline rush and finally turned to the cocaine. He eventually opted for a premature release from the army after a drug test, he told the Tribune.
Sara Walker, who works in the Church of the Perez family, the Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago, told ABC News that Perez had told her that he would turn to drugs for relief. The Lincoln United Methodist Church helped Perez & # 39; s connect with Bergin, who volunteered the case.
"He told me that when he made that mistake, he drank and drank drugs 24/7 a day," Walker said.
ICE officials say the agency respects the conscript service and preparedness and is well aware of cases involving US military veterans.
The story of Perez became a cause celebre, with Senator Tammy Duckworth, D.-Ill., Fighting for him. Following the news of the deportation, Duckworth issued a statement on Saturday: "This case is a tragic example of what can happen if national immigration policy is more hatred than logic and ICE does not feel responsible to anyone – at least, Miguel would have all of his own exploit legal opportunities before being hounded out of the country under a veil of secrecy. "
"I am appalled that secretary Nielsen has not responded to my personal appeal and merely asked to review the case of Miguel and decide for himself if he will be deported. This courageous fighting veteran was a wise use of the limited resources DHS, and I will be reviewing additional oversight options in the near future to protect it from any other combat veteran, "said Duckworth.