11.16.17

Rep. Takano and Members of Congressional Hispanic Caucus, House Veterans Committee Demand Support for Deported Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) joined members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to call for action to help American veterans who served the nation honorably before being deported. At a press conference, the members unveiled three letters being sent to the Trump administration and to Congress detailing critical steps that must be taken immediately to support deported veterans.  

  • In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, the Members called for an immediate moratorium on deporting veterans.
  • In a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Members asked the agency to provide deported veterans access to the health care and benefits they have earned – and are legally entitled to receive.
  • In a letter to the leadership of the key committees of jurisdiction – the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs – the Members called for hearings to consider permanent solutions for these veterans. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of veterans who have been deported after receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. military, according to recent estimates. Many of them do not have access to the health care and benefits that they earned through their service. In 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union published a report detailing the ways in which veterans who did not complete the naturalization process are caught up in a broken immigration system. 

“Most Americans would be outraged if they realized that there are veterans who are exiled from the same nation that they risked their lives to protect,” said Rep. Takano, vice ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “There are steps that the administration and Congress can take immediately to restore dignity and honor to these deported veterans, and I hope we all accept our responsibility to correct this profound injustice.”

In June, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus visited the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, which serves as a resource center, shelter, and advocacy group for deported veterans. Last month, Rep. Takano led a delegation of members from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to visit the support house and understand the challenges facing these veterans.

“We must take care of our veterans regardless of their immigration status. These brave men and women put their country first and trusted that the military and the government would look after them.  They deserve to have access to the benefits they have earned from their service,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). “The administration and Congress can and should take immediate action to bring deported veterans home and prevent their future deportations.”

“The words ‘deported veteran’ should offend the ears of every American,” said Rep. Tim Walz, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “These brave men and women selflessly raised their right hand and swore an oath to protect us, this great nation, and the values enshrined in our Constitution, even though they may not have been born here. The fact there is not an easier path to citizenship for these servicemembers is unacceptable. I want to thank my close friend and colleague Representative Mark Takano for his tireless advocacy on behalf of all of America’s veterans. I look forward to working with him and our colleagues closely as Congress works to find solutions for deported veterans.”

“Our deported veterans should not be coming home in bodybags. Let’s get them back while they’re still on their own two feet,” said Rep. Barragán. “Permanent exile from the country they love and served wasn’t part of their prison sentence.”

The letter to the Department of Homeland Security is signed by (19 Members): Reps. Barragán, Bordallo, Correa, Espaillat, Gomez, Gonzelez, Grijalva, Lujan Grisham, Gutiérrez, Lee, Napolitano, Rice, Sablan, Schakowksy, Sires, Soto, Vargas, Velázquez, and Walz. 

The letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs is signed by (19 Members): Reps. Barragán, Bordallo, Correa, Espaillat, Gomez, Gonzelez, Grijalva, Lujan Grisham, Gutiérrez, Lee, Napolitano, Rice, Sablan, Schakowksy, Sires, Soto, Torres, Vargas, and Walz.

The letter to the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is signed by (19 Members): Reps. Barragán, Bordallo, Correa, Espaillat, Gomez, Gonzelez, Grijalva, Lujan Grisham, Gutiérrez, Lee, Napolitano, Rice, Sablan, Schakowksy, Sires, Soto, Torres, Vargas, and Velázquez.

Press Contact

Josh Weisz, 202-225-2305