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Deported Veterans Support House – Hector Barajas


Hector Barajas grew up in the Los Angeles as a lawful permanent resident noncitizen in the United States.  In 1995, Barajas enlisted in the Army.  During his service he won numerous awards including the Army Commendation Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal. He was honorably discharged in 2001. 

In 2010, Barajas who was still a noncitizen was deported to Mexico after he had served a sentence for a crime in 2002.  In Mexico, Barajas established the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana to offer help to other veterans who’ve been deported.

With significant effort, Barajas was able to gain United States citizenship from Mexico.  Today, Barajas still runs the Deported Veterans Support House while he works in the United States.  Barajas is also featured in a documentary, Ready for War, which highlights the struggles of deported veterans.    Barajas also heavily advocated for deported veterans, leading to the launch for the Biden administration’s Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative in 2021.  The program works to make Veterans Administration benefits more accessible for non-US citizen veterans, and to help more deported veterans return to the US if they were deported.  The program also works to lessen the number of deported veterans

KBCS’s Mari McMenamin, Dana Schuerholz and Yuko Kodama interviewed Hector Barajas at the Deported Veterans support house in Tijuana, Mexico in 2019.

Producers: Mari McMenamin, Dana Schuerholz, Jesse Callahan and Yuko Kodama.  Special thanks to Magdaleno Rose-Avila for inspiring us to take on this story.

Photos: Dana Schuerholz


Deported Veterans Support House and Dreamers Moms Offices

Deported Veterans Support House kitchen

Hector Barajas with photo of his grandfather

Border wall portion painted with names of deported veterans


Local Day of the Dead Events 2021

Auburn Nov 1 – Nov 6

Burien Nov 1- Nov 5

Issaquah Nov 2


El Centro de la Raza Nov 2


Seattle Center Oct 30 – Nov 7

Phinney Neighbhood Center Nov 6


Border Crossing

The border town of Arivaca, Arizona, is no stranger to migrants crossing through the desert and mountains in hopes for a better life in the U.S. The documentary film Undeterred, shows how militarizing the border can result in migrants dying in the desert and in the neighborhoods of towns on the border. The film was featured at the 2018 Social Justice Film Festival in Seattle. KBCS’s Ruth Bly recorded the panel discussion following the screening.


The Bracero Program

During World War II the United States had a shortage of labor.  In response, the government imported ‘braceros’ or  workers from Mexico. On average, 200,000 Mexican workers per year were brought to the US between 1942 to 1964.

Seattle University Modern Languages and Women Studies Professor and Director of Latin American Studies, Dr. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, reflects on some of the stories of her family members who arrived her as braceros with KBCS’s Yuko Kodama.


Repatriation of Mexican Immigrant Families and Mexican Americans

Imagine being a US Citizen and being deported to a country where you don’t know anyone? This happened in the 1930’s here in America. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage, this series focuses on the history of immigration and repatriation of Mexican immigrants in the US. In this two-part series, KBCS’s Yuko Kodama recently spoke with Dr. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Professor at Seattle University, regarding the impact of the Repatriation program of the 1930’s.

Part 1 – KBCS’s Yuko Kodama and Dr. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs discuss a program in the 1930’s which sent US citizens to Mexico against their will.

Part 2 – KBCS’s Yuko Kodama continues the discussion with Dr. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs about the Repatriation program and its lasting impacts on the psyche of the Mexican American community.


Mexican Independence and September 16th

Though Mexican Independence was formalized on September 27 1821, September 16th is celebrated as the awakening of the independence movement.

This Saturday is the 207th anniversary of the Grito De Dolores, or Mexican Independence Day. It’s celebrated in Mexico city with the clanging of a bell as revolutionary hero, Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang in 1810.

KBCS’s Yuko Kodama spoke with Seattle University Professor and daughter of migrant workers, Dr. Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs about the significance of the holiday.


New Perspectives on Immigration in the US

Last year, the United States deported nearly 370,000 people. That’s nine times the number 20 years ago.  Meanwhile, a recent study on trends in Mexico released by the Pew Research Center finds that 34% of its pool said they would like to migrate to the US.  Over 70% said top concerns were with crime, corruption and drug cartel related violence.  This week we look at the real life conditions that draw people from Mexico and other countries to the United States.

  • Episode 1 & 2 – Former Federal Public Defender, Jay Stansell speaks about current policies toward immigration and the conditions that undocumented immigrants face in the US with KBCS Producer, Yuko Kodama
  • Episode 3 –  Masahiro Sugano is the Director of the documentary, “Cambodian Son”.  He speaks with KBCS Producer, Yuko Kodama about the  some Camdodian Americans who were deported to Cambodia from the US
  • Episode 4 – Writer and activist, Dori Cahn speaks with KBCS’s Yuko Kodama about the conditions Cambodian American deportees to Cambodia are faced with when they are forced to build their lives in a home country they hardly know.