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A study in contrasts

Two people were in the limelight in Massachusetts yesterday, two people who have interesting perspectives on the war in Iraq.

One of them was Former Sgt. Camilo Mejia, a National Guardsman who deserted rather than going to Iraq. He was a fugitive for a while, then surrendered to authorities. He spent a year in solitary, then was dishonorably discharged. An immigrant from Nicaragua, he is speaking out against the war.

In contrast to his pride in renouncing his oath and running out on his commitments, Tiana Barros was presented with a Purple Heart. Ms. Barros (no rank was given) was injured by an IED in Iraq a little over a year ago.

Mr. Mejia is a convicted criminal. Is there any reason why he should not be deported back to Nicaragua -- and, if necessary, stripped of his citizenship?

Comments (25)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm f... (Below threshold)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly sure simply committing a crime isn't deportation fodder. Yeah, he's an ass, but if that were all that was needed to boot someone out, 87% of this country would be gone.

Yeah, I guess before you ge... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I guess before you get on the deporting train you should check into the facts. Was he a CO? If so, the local board decides his fate in regards to his military status. If dodging service suddenly requires you to be stripped of your citizenship, I know a lot of politicians who would be really sweaty right now.

If he's a citizen - he went... (Below threshold)

If he's a citizen - he went AWOL - served his time - was discharged and is a free man. That's not deportation that's exile. If he's not a citizen then he's subject to immigration law. I'd like to see him deported if he's not a citizen but if he is I don't see it. Or do you want to deport everybody who's against the war?

Don't many (some ?) join th... (Below threshold)

Don't many (some ?) join the military as a fast-track to citizenship? If this is true (no facts on this, sorry) and his citizenship was accelerated as a result of his "service", that should be revoked upon his failure to consumate that service.

If he is a CO then I guess that Board would be deciding hsi fate. Wouldn't it be nice to learn the required timing of their sudden CO status? To bhe a loyal soldier until the shooting starts, only to become Saved, seems sort of convenient.

If he is just a dirtbag who wants his 15 minutes of Sheehan-palooza, then I say he gets the next dingy departing for warmer waters down south...

Oh, and Ms. Barros rocks! ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and Ms. Barros rocks!

If he's here illegally then... (Below threshold)

If he's here illegally then we shouldn't have even jailed him for the desertion...we should have just deported him.

If he's a citizen then he has the right to be stupid (after he's served his time).... now if you want to deport all stupid people sign me up! (but it might get kind of lonely in the US:))

Staff Sergeant Camilo Me... (Below threshold)

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, 28, of Miami, Florida joined the Army in 1995 as a way to get college assistance and in search of new experiences. Following a three-year hitch with the Regular Army, he joined the Florida National Guard partly because he was promised tuition assistance at Florida's state universities. Mejia, a Nicaraguan citizen, had moved permanently to the US with his mother when he was eighteen years old. He is a permanent resident who holds a "green card."

This is what I found. I think he should be deported. It is unlikely he can find decent work with a dishonourable discharge, correct?

I knew (then) SPC Barros wh... (Below threshold)

I knew (then) SPC Barros when she was with my reserve unit in Boston. I don't know if she has been promoted since. I'm sorry to see she was injured, but glad she's still in the Service. She's one of the funniest and nicest people I've known in the Army.

At the very least, he will ... (Below threshold)

At the very least, he will likely never be able to become a naturalized citizen due to his desertion and will never progress beyond being a green card holder. Desertion, and his other activities (evading, court martial, conviction) precludes having good moral character (a requirement for citizenship.)

He will never be able to vote or enjoy other benefits a ctizen would as opposed to a green card holder.

Oh well, obviously he does not think too much of this country anyway - you know, the country that afforded him a wealth of opportunities Nicaragua obviously did not offer him.

We have a 100% volunteer mi... (Below threshold)

We have a 100% volunteer military service, people. A CO in this context is nothing but a liar, willing to join the service for a job or money for college but fraudulently at the heart of it. I don't believe any claim of CO status from anyone who "discovers" it on the eve of deployment.

It's a slap in the face to those men and women who leave their families to serve when called to do so.

Well said, Synova! And peo... (Below threshold)

Well said, Synova! And people, being convicted of a felony is grounds for deportation.

Synova - sorry, but the Arm... (Below threshold)

Synova - sorry, but the Army and the SSS disagree with you. I suggest writing them with your ideas.

Being a CO is accepted so long as you transfer the time of your service to another civil institution. They don't necessarily have to be liars or cowards either. After all, it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs and I'm sure he's taking a lot of flack from people like you. But I don't think we know enough of the situation to judge.

If he did a year "in solita... (Below threshold)
Old Soldier:

If he did a year "in solitary" he must have been one disorderly fellow. Chances are he did a year at Ft Leavenworth, but most likely not in "solitary." That said, if he was sentenced to a year (or more) and then dishonorably discharged, the charge was most likely desertion which is a very serious charge (as opposed to AWOL). The guilty of desertion coupled with a Dishonorable Discharge makes him ineligible for any government job or any contractor that has a government contract. It is supposed to render him ineligible to vote in elections and ineligible for citizenship (since he wasn’t already a citizen). CO status seems highly unlikely since he went AWOL to avoid deployment and in view of the fact he was convicted of desertion. If he had been a “registered” CO, chances are he would have been charged with something less than desertion. Without all the facts, that’s about all I can say.

The questions isn't whether... (Below threshold)

The questions isn't whether or not he should be deported.

The real question is how did this loser get citizenship in the first place.

Between this and the Chines... (Below threshold)

Between this and the Chinese spy sotry, its time to stop giving away citizenship like candy.

Dammit, they should just sh... (Below threshold)

Dammit, they should just shoot the son of a bitch!

Some folks seem a little co... (Below threshold)

Some folks seem a little confused. There is no "local board" to determine his CO status. That is a relic of the days of the draft. He enlisted in an all volunteer military. Most of these dirtbags who are playing CO now joined for some benefit with no intention of living up to their obligation. As Macker said this POS should have been shot as a deserter.

Hmmm.In case nobod... (Below threshold)


In case nobody read through all the comments, this guy isn't a citizen. He's a legal alien resident with a green card.

Frankly he should be deported.

As for being stripped of citizenship; I think what's required is a felony offense to strip citizenship from a naturalized citizen.

jp2, apparently there are w... (Below threshold)

jp2, apparently there are ways for someone who experiences a "conversion" during their time of service to apply for CO status. I was talking realities, not legalities.

And as I understand it, way back in the day, what CO status got you was a support job... maybe a medic or something. Your CO morality excused you from shooting people, it didn't excuse you from having to leave home, go to a war zone, and get shot at.

And I just *cry* for the poor infants who can't take the grief they get from someone like me. Boo Hoo.

Er...why shouldn't he also ... (Below threshold)

Er...why shouldn't he also be required to pay back all of the financial benefits he received, since he didn't live up t his end of the bargain?

I saw him on NECN last nigh... (Below threshold)

I saw him on NECN last night and he seems pretty unhinged. He has no plans to apply for citizenship because he doesn't need a passport to be an American, believes Afghanistan was not justified, believes WWII was fought because of Jewish outcry, is protesting military recruiters in schools and loves America. He'll be speaking in Cambridge tonight to many like minded patriots.

The country HAS requirement... (Below threshold)

The country HAS requirements "on the books" for citizenship. Unfortunately, becuase those requirements are often overlooked or else bypassed, this is what happens: people who "love America" but defy some if not all of the requirements for citizenship, using the country and resources to do whatever.

I don't see much difference in this guy -- Mejia -- and, say Castro or Chavez and how they'd be behaving if they were interchanged with Mejia under similar circumstances.

Mejia has earned a deportation. And nothing more from the United States of America and it's taxpayers.

Tiana Barros was present... (Below threshold)

Tiana Barros was presented with a Purple Heart. Ms. Barros (no rank was given) was injured by an IED in Iraq a little over a year ago.

I take it this was not like the purple heart stickers worn at the RNC last year...

fuckin hypocrits.

Hmmm.I ta... (Below threshold)


I take it this was not like the purple heart stickers worn at the RNC last year...

Congratulations on remembering an actual event!!

*shrug* I'm actually serious about this. Too many liberals just completely ignore reality and just make stuff up. This remembering of actual events should be encouraged.

You go WrongWingLiberal! Keep up the good effort.

hi everybody!! if anyone kn... (Below threshold)
keith mowbray:

hi everybody!! if anyone knows how to get in touch with Tiana please either give her my email or email her my address PLEASE MY NAME IS Keith, she'll [email protected] she is a good friend and a hell of a woman. i lost touch with her when she was in Lynn,MA right before she was supposed to report for duty and im extremely concerned about her. i would gretaly appreciate it if anyone can help out and im sure she would like it to since all my numbers have changed...THANKYOU VERY MUCH!!!!






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