A former Marine Veteran who served between 1979 to 1986 in the military, but was deported in 2001 after serving 10-years in a federal prison for a drug charge has passed away on Thursday after years of trying to get earned medical treatment benefits from the VA administration.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
June 19, 2015
San Diego, California – On Thursday, José Solorio, a former Marine Veteran who served between 1979 to 1986 in the military and then deported in 2001 after serving 10-year in a federal prison for a drug conviction has passed away. Solorio was honorably discharged from the military and had earned Veteran Administration (VA) medical benefits, but those benefits were denied simply because he was deported and only if he would return and apply in person for those benefits would be restored.
For years Solorio attempted to apply for those benefits and was unsuccessful until he joined the Deported Veterans Support House (DVSH) in Rosarito, Baja California in Mexico headed by another deported Veteran Hector Barajas, who is the founder of the group.
Barajas was able to get support from people in the U.S. who got the ACLU to get involved and interested in the deported Veterans plight of not getting their earned medical benefits. Solorio is one of the first deported Veterans to get a 10-day humanitarian visa from the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to return to the U.S. legally and apply in person for VA medical benefits. Solorio was diagnosed with incurable and deadly Pulmonary Fibrosis, which prevents the lungs from functioning and getting oxygen.
Solorio had his temporary visa extended to 30 to 90 days and was admitted to the La Jolla VA Hospital in San Diego, but the VA wouldn’t allow for Solorio to be flown to another VA hospital located in Seattle, Washington to get the specialized treatment needed to keep him alive or get a lung transplant. The doctors diagnosed that Solorio would likely not survive because the disease had deteriorated his lungs and had waited to long to get treatment or had been prevented by the VA from getting treatment in the early stages.
Barajas and the ACLU have confirmed that there could be hundreds of cases like Solorio in which other deported Veterans have illegally been deprived from earned medical treatment and benefits from the VA for illnesses incurred during military service.
The following deceased deported Veterans have suffered the fatal consequences from the Obama and VA administrations gross negligence in denying them medical treatment and benefits as afforded by the U.S. Congress.
On April 14, 2015, former Army Veteran Juan José Montemayor passed away in Tijuana after a long illness without VA medical benefits and was cremated on May 17. His ashes were returned to Wisconsin in the U.S. Only upon death, a deported Veteran can return with full military honors and a head marker and burial plot is provided at a military cemetery.
On March 10, 2015, Gonzalo Chaidez, 64, a deported U.S. Army Veteran passed away in Tijuana. Chaidez suffered from Tuberculosis and as a deported U.S. Veteran, he was not allowed to use his earned benefits or seek treatment at any VA hospital. Under deportation, all Veterans are illegally stripped from their earned benefits under the last three presidential administrations, including President Obama’s administration.
In April 21, 2014, Hector Barrios, 70, a deported U.S. Army Sergeant Veteran died in Tijuana from a heart stroke and was a house resident at the DVSH too. Barrios attempted to collect earned VA benefits for years, but was unsuccessful and died in poverty because he couldn’t return to the U.S. to apply for medical care.
Update: The Deported Veterans Support House in Baja California is planning a vigil at the San Ysidro border crossing at 3:00 p.m. for the recently deceased and deported U.S. Veteran José Solorio for July 4th and members of the ACLU from San Diego, California will be attending too.
For more info. about the July 4th vigil for José Solorio, contact:
A special video tribute to the Deported Veterans Support House: https://vimeo.com/122712920