Repatriate Our Patriots: Nick Paz shares his story
I am a board member of Repatriate Our Patriots, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of veterans facing deportation from the United States and veterans living in exile. I am also a disabled combat veteran who served as an infantrymen and a battalion scout sniper for the 101st Airborne 2/327 Infantry Regiment. I had the honor of deploying twice for the Global War on Terror; one 15 month deployment in the Sunni triangle in the city of Samarra, Iraq(07-09) during the surge and the second deployment along the Kunar River Valley in Afghanistan (10-11).
In my capacity as a board member I serve as a Human Rights Liaison for Repatriate Our Patriots. I embed with exiled veterans for extended periods of time, this can range from 1 week to 3 months in any given location throughout Mexico and Central America. The purpose of my visit is to witness the atmospherics on the ground of what the Exiled Veteran is experiencing and through the process of social analysis we try and allocate resources with the intentions of aiding in a better quality of life for the Exiled Veteran. There are multiple factors involved when determining the quality of life of an Exiled Veteran; socioeconomic situation, Geo-political volatility, Trans-national criminal organizations, the Exiled Veterans assimilation into their environment, as well as the state of their mental health and well being. Most of all, I am there to be in the moment with the Exiled Veteran through their time of suffering and remind them they are not alone; to bear witness.
Notes from the Associate Producer:
When I met Nick during our pre-interview, he shared stories of deported veterans that truly hurt to listen to. But these stories are important, because these veterans are important. Veterans who have served our country are being deported and many people in the United States are unaware of this issue. They face hardships in countries they may have never even stepped foot in as adults. These hardships can be life threatening- both physically and mentally. Yet we stand by unaware of what our heroes are facing. As a veteran myself, it's devastating to realize that some of my brothers and sisters aren't getting the benefits they deserved- benefits that they fought for. As a nation, we have a responsibility to care for our veterans, no matter the circumstances. United States citizens to fight for these individuals who have fought for us. Below is the link to Repatriate Our Patriots, where they share their mission and goals and stories from veterans that had to fight to regain citizenship.