U.S. Military Veterans Deported to Mexico are Seeking to come back to the United States
Members of a U.S. congressional delegation visited Tijuana, Mexico last month and met with deported U.S. military veterans. The deported U.S. military veterans talked about the pride they felt serving in the U.S. armed services with the members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and they told the delegation that they missed their families in the U.S. and that they needed access to Veterans Affairs services. Many of the deported military veterans served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The meeting took place at the Deported Veterans Support House near the U.S. border and aimed to bring visibility to this issue affecting lawful permanent residents, who served in the military and were honorably discharged, but then were convicted of crimes. U.S. Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA, 46th District), who was part of the delegation, stated:
This is an injustice. These veterans fought for the United States. They broke the law and paid for this mistake. You shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same sin.
Because the deported U.S. military veterans had not become U.S. citizens, they were deported after serving their sentences, and returned to a nation that many had left as children. The Deported Veterans Support House offers shelter and other support services to deported veterans. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union reported that there were at least 239 deported veterans in 34 countries, 60 of which live in the Tijuana area. U.S. Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA, 51st District) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ, 3rd District) have already submitted proposed legislation that would allow the veterans to return to the United States and would take measures so that noncitizen members of the military are informed of their opportunities to become U.S. citizens. This is definitely a polarizing issue given the sentiment that the Trump Administration has towards immigration issues and the crimes that the deported U.S. military veterans committed, but these veterans should nonetheless be treated with more respect and given more help because of their services to the United States.
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