After Felony Conviction, Iraq War Veteran Faces Deportation To Mexico

An Iraq War veteran who is not a U.S. citizen is facing deportation to Mexico over a felony conviction unless an immigration judge decides to let him stay in the United States.

Edgar Baltazar Garcia, 38, is husky and bearded, and he’s physically larger than the Central American men who sit glumly beside him on a bench in immigration court in South Texas. The infantryman wore combat fatigues when he manned a .50-caliber machine gun — nicknamed Lucifer — in the turret of a Humvee when he served in Iraq 15 years ago. Today, his uniform is a red jail jumpsuit with the letters “PIDC” on the back — Port Isabel Detention Center.

At Baltazar’s initial hearing, his attorney, Carlos Garcia, asks the judge to throw out the case. “He’s an Iraqi War veteran who suffers from PTSD and is currently detained,” Garcia tells the court. At the end of the hearing, the judge denies the motion, and Baltazar is led with the other detainees back to their cells.