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Executive produced by rap juggernaut Drake and directed by Andrew Renzi, Ready for War is a documentary that shines a disturbing light on the deportation of veterans in the United States. While the broader topic of immigration is an intensely contentious one, the focus on human stories is what makes this feature stand out at such a tumultuous time in history.
"Ready for War" follows the stories of three different men, all of whom were detained or deported after serving in the United States Military. The policies that facilitated these actions were all put in place prior to the Trump administration.
While the circumstances surrounding the deportation of all three men are similar, each of their outcomes is vastly different.
Migrating to the US when he was only 7 years old, Hector Barajas lived in Compton, California and eventually joined the Army. After returning home from a tour, he was convicted of discharging a firearm and deported to Mexico in 2004.
Miguel Perez was 6 years old when he moved to Chicago. After serving two tours of Afghanistan, he was convicted of a non-violent crime and sent to an Illinois ICE detention centre and then deported to Mexico. While not much is revealed about his conviction, it's understood that he was involved in the drug trade.
The third man is known only as "El Vet" and wears a mask to protect his identity. He was deported to Juarez and essentially recruited by the drug cartels against his will. According to the man, the cartels place a high value on men who have served in the military. "Soldiers are valuable here," he says during one interview.
Of course, none of the veterans are completely innocent in their circumstances – each had a criminal conviction which enabled the US Government to deport them – but Ready for War highlights the issues that come as a result of the deportations, including the horrific experiences El Vet was subjected to.
The documentary also looks at how PTSD and injuries sustained during service contributed to the veterans' drug use. You can see the trailer for it below.
You can stream Ready for War now only on Stan.