LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán has invited Marine Corps Veteran Marco Chavez to be her guest at President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
Chavez had been deported from the United States due to his legal status.
Born in Mexico, Chavez was brought to California as an infant. He spent 15 years in exile missing his three children growing up.
When he returned to the U.S. in December 2017 he was eager to meet new family he’d never seen in person.
“I have two grandchildren now I’ve not met,” he said. “With the restoration of my legal status, I feel like I’ve been given my life back.”
He served in the Marine Corps as a lawful permanent resident before being deported on the basis of a single criminal offense in 2002. After Gov. Jerry Brown granted him a full and unconditional pardon for that offense, the courts agreed that Chavez’s pardon entitled him to return to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
Chavez is now a resident of California’s 44th Congressional District represented by Barragan.