WINTER HAVEN — Daniel Torres served in the Iraqi War as a U.S. Marine, but his undocumented status forced him to spend five years in Tijuana, Mexico, outside of the country he spent three years defending.
The 30-year-old veteran was not alone. He was one of many U.S. military veterans forced to live outside of the country they served.
"At the Deported Veterans Support House, we don’t see ourselves as foreigners that have been deported, we see ourselves as Americans in exile," Torres said of the group in Tijuana, Mexico, that helps veterans.
On April 21 in San Diego, the former Marine lance corporal received his U.S. citizenship in a naturalization ceremony. He has lived as an American citizen for the past month and he visited the Young American Dreamers at the group’s sixth anniversary celebration at Lake Shipp Park in Winter Haven.
Torres came to Winter Haven on Saturday to celebrate the Young American Dreamers’ sixth anniversary. The community service organization has been in operation since 2011 and they celebrated their anniversary by cleaning up Lake Shipp Drive. The organization cleans the road four times a year in honor of their late founder, Maria Isabel Barajas-Martinez.
The 21-year-old student activist, who died in a car accident on Lake Shipp Drive in 2012, championed the causes of immigration reform…