Democratic Representative Vicente Gonzalez from Texas has issued a call for representatives from the political spectrum to assist him in stopping the deportations of Veterans.
It is the most American thing to do, Security to take care of our veterans who fought for us. Many were highly decorated veterans that were in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of them came home with high levels of PTSD. We didn’t offer them the mental health care they needed to transition them back into society.”
The exact number of deported veterans is currently unknown as even the Department of Homeland Security does not keep records of deported veterans. There has been such an extensive amount of Latino veterans deported, that they have created a Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, Mexico to house veterans who served during peacetime and wars such as Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to Snopes, as many as 8,000 soldiers with green cards have become citizens this way in 2016.
It has been estimated that there are hundreds of deported veterans at least in twenty countries. While being in foreign countries does not neglect them from a legal right to VA benefits there is no way for them to return to the United States for treatment and there are not any satellite offices outside of the United States to assist them.
During President Barack Obama’s tenure, there was a priority system for deportations for criminal offenses. Trump has signed an executive order removing the priority system. His removal allows the removal of people without convictions and it allows local offices to be used to target immigrants.
Previous attempts by Democrats to block this have been stopped due to opposition votes in 2016.
Democrat Representative Ted Lieu defended the bill in 2016:
As an immigrant and a veteran who previously served on active duty, I believe there is perhaps no greater injustice in our immigration system than the deportation of veterans. Any immigrant, documented or otherwise, who puts their life on the line to serve the United States in uniform should be entitled to their VA benefits and a peaceful life in our great nation. It is incomprehensible that we treat some veterans more like criminals than heroes. The Restoring Respect for Immigrant Service in Uniform Act would help us correct the system to treat all veterans with the respect they have earned.”
During my research, it became apparent to me that a deported veteran can only return home to be buried in a national cemetery.
Let that sink in.
Featured image via Getty/Sandy Huffaker