02/06/2013 12:47:46 PM EST
Deported Vets Eligible for VA Healthcare, GI Bill
"There is irony and tragedy in the death in Mexico last year of 55-year-old U.S. Army veteran Manuel de Jesus Castano. The irony is that Castano, a life-long legal U.S. resident deported for a past criminal conviction that had nothing to do with his Army service, was allowed into the U.S. for burial -- with full military honors -- at Fort Bliss, Texas. It was, as far as his family knew, the last and only veteran’s benefit he was entitled to. Deported in 2011 from El Paso, Texas, where he was getting healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs for Lupus and Lou Gehrig’s disease, his conditioned worsened, according to his nephew. He died last June following a heart attack. The tragedy is that Castano, his family and his supporters -- including other “banished veterans” forced to live outside the U.S. -- never knew that he was entitled to VA healthcare, including medications, regardless of his deported status." - Bryant Jordan, Jan. 7, 2013.