LA Unions Held Día de Los Reyes Celebration at the Border for Families of Deported Veterans

01/08/2020

Contact:
Christian Castro, Communications Director
(310) 857-9817
christian@thelafed.org

LA Unions Held Día de Los Reyes Celebration at the Border for Families of Deported Veterans

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor gave toys and other donations to deported veterans
and their families in Tijuana, Mexico on a religious holiday known as Three Kings Day.

On Sunday, January 5, a delegation of union members led by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
traveled to Tijuana, Mexico bringing toys, food, donations, and support to deported veterans and their
families bringing attention to our forgotten military veterans who have been deported after years of
service.

The delegation held a Día de Los Reyes celebration at the Deported Veterans Support House, a shelter
and resource center for deported veterans who need assistance, as well as advocating for immigration
reform.

“When you’re deported, your whole life falls apart,” said Hector Barajas, Founder and Director of
Deported Veterans Support House, and former deported veteran. “Support like this from the
community can mean the world to someone who has been uprooted from a country they considered
home and forced to start a new life in one that is foreign to them.”

“The Los Angeles labor community is committed to supporting those in need, regardless of
documentation or status,” said Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
“These patriotic men and women who have risked their lives to protect America and its freedoms
deserve dignity, respect, and a home in the country they’ve served. We stand with the veterans and
their families.”

The Department of Defense estimates that about 25,000 immigrants are serving in the U.S military with
the promise of a path towards naturalization. According to Migration Policy Institute, about 530,000
veterans were born outside of the United States.

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The Los Angeles Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO is a labor organization made up of 300 affiliated unions,
representing over 800,000 members. 

Deported Veterans Support House

The Deported Veterans Support house, also known as “the Bunker”, operates as a shelter and resource
center for veterans who need assistance, as well as office for our political advocacy efforts in the realm
of immigration reform. DVSH also raises awareness about the deported veteran cause through social
media, public outreach, and community events.

The house operates under the direction of founder Hector Barajas who served with the 82nd airborne
and was deported in 2004. Born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1977, when he was 7 years old and became a
green card-carrying resident. Decided that he wanted to give back to his adopted country, he enlisted in
the U.S. Army in 1995 at age 18, where he served for nearly six years in the 82 nd Airborne Division until
2001 when he received an honorable discharge. During his military career, he has received numerous
accolades and awards, including the Army Commendation Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal.

Día de Los Reyes

In Mexico, Día de Los Reyes (known elsewhere as Epiphany) is celebrated on January 6 to honor the
Three Wise Men. This holiday represents the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ, and the
day closes the Christmas festivities. It's also the day the people of Mexico exchange gifts.