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Former National Guard soldier fights deportation

A former National Guard soldier on the west coast is challenging an adverse ruling for citizenship and defending against deportation. The 37-year-old Pakistani national came to the United States in 2000. The man joined the National Guard in March 2001. In 2003, while training for deployment in Iraq, the guardsman suffered a back injury. He was never deployed to Iraq.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement filed a removal request and seeks to have the former guardsman deported to his native Pakistan. The former soldier appeared before an immigration judge recently in Yakima Washington to argue his deportation defense.

The man received a medical discharge from the National Guard and is now wheelchair bound. He married in this country in 2000. He seeks to remain in this country based upon his military service. He also says that former American military personnel do not receive favorable treatment in Pakistan.

ICE officials claim the man lied on visa documents when he came to this country. ICE claims the man did not disclose a 1996 fraud conviction entered in Australia in a visa application in the United States in 2001.

An Australian citizen reportedly left his passport with the man when he was a taxi driver. The Australian reportedly did not have cash to pay his fare and left his passport as a surety. The former guardsman pleaded guilty to fraud. The allegations were the man tried to open a bank account and obtain medical benefits using the passport. The former guardsman says he did not understand what was happening when he entered his guilty plea in Australia in 1996.

ICE officials also say the man misrepresented his citizenship status when he applied to become a reserve officer with the Yakima Police Department.

In October, a federal court supported an administrative decision denying the man citizenship. That matter has been appealed to a federal appeals court.

Source: The News Tribune, "Ex-soldier in Lacey fights deportation to Pakistan," Adam Ashton 13 Jan 2011

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