By: Kyle James | 10-05-2017 | News
Photo credit: The Goldwater

Iraq War Veteran Fighting Deportation In Washington

In Washington state, an immigration judge decided against releasing an Iraq War veteran from custody while he fights the government's efforts to deport him even after his military service where he saw combat. Chong Kim is from South Korea but came to the US at age 5. After serving in the National Guard since 2005 and deploying to Iraq in 2009 and 2010, he began struggling with substance abuse and petty crimes.

<img src="" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">

<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Tim Warden-Hertz</span>

Family and friends of Kim say he has done a lot better since completing a substance abuse program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year, but that doesn't stop immigration agents from arresting him. He was arrested by the agents and brought to a detention center in Tacoma, Washington where he will be deported because of his convictions. Matt Luce, 41, attended high school with Kim and says, "It's just wrong to be deporting an Army veteran. Despite his convictions, he was on and continues to be on the right path. This is just a travesty of justice."

Tim Warden-Hertz of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is serving as Kim's attorney and highlights the difficulty in securing bond in the immigration detention system since authorities argue that subjects are often flight risks or pose a threat to the public. Kim's immigration issues arise primarily from two incidents, one a burglary and another a dumb prank where he threw a maltov cocktail against the back of a building.

Jason Phebus, 31, is an Air Force veteran who also struggled to adjust to civilian life after serving in the armed forces and seeing combat. "He was man enough to stand up and serve this country, in combat no less," he said. "Now he's not fit to be here?"

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