Valley veteran faces possible deportation due to troubled past

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Joaquin Sotelo is a Navy Veteran facing deportation out of the United State back to his home country of Mexico.

He immigrated to the US when he was 10-years-old.

Sotelo was able to get a green card and enlist in the Navy at age 19 but his troubles began after serving overseas.

"When I came back from Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom my life became unmanageable. I fell into drug addiction," he said.

Sotelo said he served time in prison in 2014 but he was kept in custody for an additional two years when he was detained in a federal immigration facility before he was supposed to be released.

"I got released under a bond and I am still fighting my case of immigration over the fact that citizenship was promised to me. And it was never put on my record," he said.

Sotelo believes a paperwork issue with a Pro Convection Release is to blame.

Thursday community activist gathered outside the I.C.E office and marched to Senator Diane Feinstein's office in Downtown Fresno to show support and to ask for help.

"This is just one case of many cases where we don't want another family to go through a separation," said Brisa Cruz, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

Sotelo is married with four children. He was to report to I.C.E on Thursday but for unknown reasons that date was pushed back to February 12.

Senator Feinstein's office released the following statement, "Mr. Sotelo has contacted Senator Feinstein's office for casework assistance, and the senator has a long-standing policy of not discussing details of casework requests due to privacy considerations."
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