A Chicago lawyer is fighting the recent deportation order of decorated U.S. Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr. to his native Mexico, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Attorney Chris Bergin filed an appeal to halt the deportation on behalf of Perez, who holds a green card. Perez learned about the order by calling a Department of Justice hotline that provides case updates to defendants and their lawyers.

Perez, who served time in an Illinois state prison for a felony drug charge after two tours in Afghanistan, requested protection from deportation under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Immigration Judge Robin Rosche heard the case, considering the request for protection. Perez learned about the deportation order after calling the hotline on March 14. Perez quickly filed an appeal, but still has yet to receive a copy of the ruling.

The UN protection is one of three routes Perez and his attorney have taken in an attempt to keep him in the U.S. He is scheduled to appear before the Illinois clemency board to request a pardon from Gov. Bruce Rauner. Bergin has also filed a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant Perez citizenship for when he joined the military in 2001.

Drug cartels target former U.S. combat veterans to work on their behalf with threats of violence, according to human rights groups and advocates for deported veterans.

The VA hospital in Maywood, Illinois, diagnosed Perez with post-traumatic stress disorder after his combat experiences. While waiting to be tested for a traumatic brain injury, Perez connected with an old friend who provided him with drugs and alcohol.

On Nov. 26, 2008, Perez, with his friend, handed a laptop case full of cocaine to an undercover police officer. He pleaded guilty to delivering the cocaine, serving half of a 15-year sentence.

Perez mistakenly thought that he had gained citizenship when he joined the military.

About 18,700 legal permanent residents are in the armed services, according to the Department of Defense, with about 5,000 joining every year.

While Perez and Bergin continue with the appeal of his case, his family has reached out to Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth for help, according to Yahoo News.

Perez has an 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son who were born in the U.S.

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