On Thursday, US Army 2nd Lt. Gibram Cruz discovered a hard truth: that his country ain’t loyal.
Cruz and his family had been trying for months to convince officials to let his mother, Rocio Rebollar Gomez, remain in the United States, but on Thursday he got a call from her, from the other side of the border, breaking the news to him that she’d been deported back to her home country, Mexico.
“I feel betrayed, to be honest,” Cruz told CNN affiliate KSWB. “A country that I’m serving, which I’ve served proudly... These policies that are put in place to keep my family safe have let me severely down.”
One would think that in a country that has historically prided itself on its love for its military and an administration that pretends the same, service members would get special consideration as it pertains to immigrant members of their immediate family. But nah; apparently they’re good enough to fight in our wars but not good enough to be entitled to keep their foreign families close.
In fact, according to CNN, Cruz previously applied to a program that protects relatives of active US military members from deportation, but the request was denied, family members said. There has yet to be any confirmation as to the reason for the denial.
Gomez had exhausted all of her legal avenues to appeal deportation and ICE spokeswoman Paige D. Hughes had this to say, noting that she’d been deported before and reentered the country illegally:
“The prioritization of immigration fugitives since the inception of ICE emphasizes their arrest and removal because they deliberately ignored a federal judge’s order. Intentionally failing to carry out final orders of removal is negligence and undermines the entire framework of immigration enforcement, as established by Congress, and renders federal law useless.”
Gomez lived in San Diego, Calif. for over 30 years. She’d been deported three times in the past but reentered to be with her loving family.
“Yes, she has a deportation record, but she came back for us,” daughter Karla Cruz said Thursday. “Everything that she’s done is for us to keep us here, to give us an opportunity. She’s the heart of our family. She’s taught us everything we know.”
The family has also expressed concerns that because of her son’s ties to the US military, that Gomez may become a target of cartel violence, CNN reports.
And if all that isn’t a big enough slap in the face, Gibram Cruz, who is probably rethinking his entire military career right now, has to go back and continue to serve the country that betrayed him.
“I didn’t say bye to her,” Cruz told CNN affiliate KGTV. “I don’t know when’s the next time I’m going to see her.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, “He has orders to report to Fort Hood in Texas on Friday,” the newspaper said. “He’s already committed to at least three more years in the military.”
I’m guessing it will be his last three years, if he has anything to say about it.