David (his last name withheld for his protection, served voluntarily in Vietnam for the US. He was, however also in the US illegally. His family moved him here hen he was 12 as the fled Mexico for a better life.
After committing some crimes that were drug related, David was deported back to Mexico, but managed to make it back inside the borders where he lives in LA.
He is one of hundreds of military veterans who have been deported from the country they served. In 2015, as many as 65,000 residents with green cards -- which allow them to live and work in the states legally -- were serving in the armed forces. And while the military can be a fast-track to citizenship, it's not guaranteed. Service members still need to apply for it, and not all of them do. David never got around to it.
He now uses the VA for medical care he needs to treat his failing kidneys. And spends most of his time "hiding inside his house" for fear of being caught and deported again. "I'll die if I get sent back," he says. His addiction to heroin after serving in Vietnam was his downfall.
After spending 50 years here, David says he feels he is am American. "This is my country," David says. "I know it's illegal being here. I feel bad, but I don't have a choice."