(KTXL) — American Veterans First in Riverbank is working to get 28 veterans back home.

They were deported to Mexico, years ago, for offenses ranging from drug possession to having a phony birth certificate. But they say their lives are in danger, and they want to come home.

“This is not a life. I’m just surviving day by day. That’s all we can do here,” one veteran said.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corp, but FOX40 is not showing his face or using his name. Since he was deported to Mexico, six years ago, he’s been beaten and tortured for not wanting to work for a criminal enterprise.

“I want America to know that we are in danger. This is a dangerous place,” he said.

“I want to go back to El Paso and be with my family,” Jerry, who served in the U.S. Navy, said. 

Jerry is a diabetic amputee, who suffered a stroke, and he’s living in a homeless shelter.

“I’m sorry for what I did. That I’m really sorry. I want to change my life. And be like I was when I was young,” Jerry said.

“These aren’t gangsters. These are men that just want to live out their lives in peace, combat veterans,” Duke Cooper said.

Duke Cooper is the founder and CEO of American Veterans First, a nonprofit which provides help to veterans and first responders.

Through Operation Forgotten Valor, they’re helping these men and 26 others veterans who were deported to Mexico. They served all branches of service and wars, ranging from the Vietnam War to Afghanistan.

“These men committed minor offenses. And compared to today, one of them was deported for life because he got a DUI. Well you know, Nancy Pelosi’s husband just got a DUI and injured somebody in a crash. And it’s no big deal,” Cooper said.

They recently returned from Juarez, Mexico, where they provided food and other necessities to the vets.

“Stuff that we take for granted here, they’re very, very thankful to have,” Shirley Serrato, Navy Vet and Outreach director, said.

American Veterans First depends on donations to help others, and Cooper is rallying to get a humanitarian pardon for the men so they can come home and get the medical care they’ve earned. 

“These guys need to come home,” Serrato said.

FOX 40 News reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a statement but the agency did not respond.

To donate to the nonprofit, visit americanveteransfirst.net. They can also be contacted at veteransfirst16@gmail.com.