HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A Scottish immigrant who became a decorated Vietnam soldier and then a troubled veteran with a string of arrests told a deportation judge Thursday that he can’t explain ″the crazy stuff″ he’s done.
Hearings ended Thursday on whether Fred S. Jackson, 40, a resident alien in this country for more than 20 years, should be deported. Immigration Judge Billino W. D’Ambrosio said he would rule on the case within 60 days.
Jackson, facing deportation because of 26 felony convictions since he got out of the Army in 1970, is arguing that he should be allowed to stay in the United States because of his military record.
Resident aliens who have been convicted of at least two crimes involving ″moral turpitude″ are subject to deportation.
He blames his crimes on the post-traumatic stress syndrome, a condition found in some Vietnam veterans and victims of violent crimes.
Jackson says flashbacks of terrifying ambushes and firefights led him to abuse drugs and alcohol.
During the hearing Thursday, Sean Keenan, a U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service attorney, questioned Jackson about his criminal record, especially the six convictions since deportation proceedings began in 1978. Jackson conceded that those offenses might strengthen the case against him.
″I can’t explain any of the crazy stuff I’ve done,″ said Jackson, who was seriously wounded twice in Vietnam and awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze star.
″If I knew what I was doing, I wouldn’t have done it,″ he said.
Immigration officials have continually refused to discuss the case in detail or their reasoning for seeking deportation, saying laws prevent them from doing so.
Jackson was treated at the post-traumatic stress unit at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Northampton, Mass., last summer. He said he hasn’t used drugs or alcohol in more than six months.
The immigration service began deportation proceedings against Jackson in 1978 after a string of convictions for burglary, larceny and drug possession.
In 1980, Jackson was convicted of armed robbery charges in Florida. The government renewed efforts to deport Jackson after his release from prison in 1985.
Jackson’s legal representative, Robert D. Money of the International Institute, said his recent problems, including an arrest for drunken driving in April 1988, don’t necessarily ruin his chances to remain in the United States.
″It isn’t a serious blow, because in Fred’s case, he has an illness,″ Money said. ″He’s going all-out to cooperate with the doctors.″
Jackson, who retains a slight Scottish brogue, enlisted in 1967 at age 18, two years after his family emigrated to Norwich, an industrial city about 30 miles southwest of Hartford. He went to Vietnam in January 1968 as an infantryman with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
He now lives in public housing in Norwich with his wife, Charlene, her 6- year-old son and their infant daughter. The family lives on disability payments from the Army, and from Social Security, which has declared him 100 percent disabled.