An Army veteran and a green card holder, Miguel Perez is facing deportation and his family and friends are calling out to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to pardon him.
After serving time in jail for a felony drug conviction, Perez, 39, is threatened with deportation to Mexico, a threat his family is hoping to neutralize with the help of Gov. Rauner, according to CBS. In order to have their pleads heard, they stood outside the downtown offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and simply prayed for their family member and friend.
Perez, who served two tours in Afghanistan, is currently being held in immigration detention in Kenosha, but he joined the demonstration over the phone.
“The system has been killing me slowly,” Perez said. “Now I’m facing death if I’m deported to Mexico, so I would rather die in the country I fought for than in a place that’s not my home.”
Perez moved to America when he was only 8 years old, leaving behind Mexico. As a result, he has never considered the country his home and has instead embraced America, fighting side by side along other Americans. When the federal courts denied his bid to stay last week, his supports launched this new effort.
Supporters say Perez is beginning a hunger strike to draw attention not only to his case, but to other green card holders facing deportation as well. Gov. Rauner’s office said the petition to pardon Perez is currently under review.