Imagine this scenario: You serve your adopted country, the United States of America, in the military. You have your green card, and upon return you are hoping that you can finally claim citizenship.

But it doesn't happen. The traumas of war leave you disoriented, you make mistakes -- whether it's getting caught with possession of an illegal substance or failing to pay a bill -- and suddenly that chance at being a true American citizen goes out the window. Except that you don't know that for another eight to 10 years.

During that span, you live out your life. You make yourself productive. You turn into a healthy human being with a family and kids. And then suddenly it all comes crashing down.

That mistake you made, coupled with never getting the paperwork in for the citizenship, means that you will now be deported.

For some readers, that might sound a bit outlandish. But just ask Howard Bailey. Bailey is a US Navy veteran from the second Gulf War, created a trucking business, and seemed ready to live happily ever after in the U.S. with his family. But, he eventually found himself isolated in Jamaica. No family, no friends, no community. Now he is a pig farmer doing his best to survive.

"There is no network for these guys to fall back on and help each other out with," said filmmaker Mike Seely, the director of the upcoming documentary "Exiled," which relates the stories of many veterans who are thrown out of the country and face similar situations to the one Bailey endures today.

Seely came to the idea for the documentary one day when he found a pamphlet on the table in his home in the Bay area. His wife had been in Tijuana and had received the document from a group of exiled veterans. Seely was immediately interested in doing some extended research on the subject. That turned into a documentary that he is still battling to bring to life.

Seely has since talked to a plethora of former veterans, including over 20 in Tijuana, about their stories and the emotional difficulties endured as veterans that were deported after serving their country.

Throughout his talks, he has managed a plethora of unique takeaways. To this point, he has only encountered men, and most of them have been convicted of crimes after serving in the military.

While some politicians would find sufficient justification in that explanation for deporting the veterans, the situation is far more complex, according to Seely.

"These guys think that the military is supposed to give you the leg up when you apply for citizenship, but it does not guarantee it to you," he explained, noting that part of the issue lies in the lack of information the men receive during their time in service.

"They think that they are through but fail to realize that there are still a lot of hoops to jump through, including paperwork."

According to Seely's sources, few men receive any guidance from the military on the steps they need to take once honorably discharged.

"They might not exactly be on top of the paperwork after going through so much," Seely said. " I mean, I have problems with paying the bills every month so it's not surprising these guys struggle a bit on the way back."

Then comes the situation regarding the veterans' brush with the law. Per the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), the list of deportable offenses was expanded. What it really did was take some common misdemeanors such as illegal substance possession and expanded them to "aggravated felonies" in Federal Court. According to the Washington Post, shoplifting, which would be a misdemeanor in many states, turns into an "aggravated felony" and thus becomes grounds for deportation. The same goes for forgery or any form of theft.

But the death knell for the veterans is that the judges lose the power of discretion.

"Before '96, judges could look at a veteran's record and help out," Seely said. "But with that law, the discretion was taken away and they had to be convicted."

"No regard for rehabilitation or anything that might be happening in this individual's life. It's eight or 10 years down the line and they don't care if the person has got his stuff together and is being a productive member of society," he added. "They simply take them to their courts and process them to be deported without any questions."

As one might imagine, the emotional repercussions for the veterans, the spine of "Exiled," are difficult.

Clayton Gordon, a Jamaican native, just had a baby and is fighting deportation. However his struggles started further back when he was being held in detention by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement "indefinitely" after being caught with drug possession back in 2008.

"Clayton is a community-minded, successful contractor with a big heart and a family that depends on him, but he could be deported on a plane back to Jamaica at any moment," Seely said.

Fortunately, Seely has found some aspirational stories in the mix.

Mauricio Hernandez served in the U.S. Army during the ongoing Afghanistan War. He wound up suffering from severe PTSD, was convicted for drug possession and possession of an illegal firearm and wound up deported to Mexico in 2010. He could never get any appropriate treatment for his situation.

The result? He dug himself out of the hole, developing self-therapy techniques through his work as a martial arts trainer for troubled youth in Tijuana.

He is still teaching, has taken online business classes and has recovered his mental health. His goal?

"He's dreaming of making a legitimate return to the U.S.," Seely said.

Hector Barajas served as a veteran paratrooper of the 82nd U.S. Airborne but was sent back to Mexico and was forced to leave his daughter and wife behind five years ago. He became homeless and struggled with substance abuse before turning his life around. He founded a Deported Veterans' Support House in Tijuana, Mexico and has mobilized and grown an extraordinary grassroots community to reach out to hundreds of U.S. veterans like himself who have been deported to dozens of countries worldwide.

Seely, who speaks Spanish, noted he still has a long way to go in order to finish this documentary. He is currently doing a crowd funding campaign which he notes is "crucial" to independent filmmaking today but also a tricky process that requires a lot of work and perseverance.

But at the end of the day, he knows that what he is doing is important.

"I think that I don't owe it to the voices of the U.S. government to put them in the film. I know that from a journalistic standpoint it isn't ideal, but I see this as more of the personal story of these veterans as a way to talk about these issues.

"I appreciate the perspective of seeing life through the lens of other cultures," Seely said.

"I want to unlock this whole universe for viewers and make it as authentic as possible."