SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Members of Congress headed South of the Border Saturday to meet with military veterans who despite their service to the country - were deported.
Those veterans are lobbying for support for federal legislation to help them get back to the United States and back on their feet.
Hector Barajas served nearly six years in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division before he was honorably discharged. In 2004, he was deported to Mexico after serving a prison sentence for firing a gun inside his car.
Barajas is now fighting for all veterans in his position - to re-enter the country they consider home.
Watch: Hispanic Caucus members in Mexico meeting with #DeportedVeterans
"I became more of a patriot ever since I got deported. They [veterans] did commit crimes, including myself, but that does not make me less American," said Barajas.
Barajas runs the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana. On Saturday it will host seven members of Congress - including Representative Juan Vargas from San Diego.
Congressman Vargas introduced a series of bills to prevent immigrant service members from being deported and help vets who have been deported access medical care they need - including treatment for PTSD.
Barajas also plans to screen a new documentary called "exiled," for the Congressional delegation this weekend. The film focuses on the plights of four deported veterans, including Barajas - who was separated from his daughter Liliana for the past six years now.
Barajas hopes presenting the human face of this controversy will encourage other lawmakers to get behind the proposed legislation.
"I value my country more. I value my service," he said.