SAN DIEGO (AP) — A decorated former U.S. Army paratrooper whose work on behalf of deported veterans has brought widespread attention to his cause has become a U.S. citizen.

Hector Barajas beamed after taking his citizenship oath Friday at a government office in San Diego in full military uniform.

He choked up as he told reporters he was living the American Dream a second time.

He was deported in 2010 to Mexico, where he founded a shelter for deported veterans.

Barajas got his break last year when California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned a 2002 conviction for shooting at an occupied vehicle. Brown cited Barajas’ military service and advocacy work.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told him in March that he was granted citizenship.

 

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