Jose Roberto Segovia Benitez knew at a young age he wanted to enlist in the United States Marine Corps and was told, like many foreign-born recruits, that his service would put him on a fast track to U.S. citizenship.

He served in Afghanistan, and then Iraq in 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion — suffering a traumatic brain injury from a blast caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) — and was honorably discharged in 2004.

But Segovia Benitez fell on hard times when he returned to the United States, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, eventually spending eight years behind bars for offenses including assault.