WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) this week sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Mac Thornberry of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman Phil Roe of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee requesting that they hold a hearing on the subject of deported veterans as soon as possible.
This request comes on the onset of Congressman Grijalva re-introducing H.R. 1405, the Veterans Visa and Protection Act and visiting deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico. As the letter states, “A report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California, Discharged, Then Discarded, documented the stories of 59 veterans who have been deported, or are in the process of being deported. Some of the report findings are that, ‘the federal government failed to ensure that service members were naturalized during their military careers, the federal government lost, misplaced, or failed to file the applications of many veterans who applied for naturalization and the federal government’s failure to provide clear and accurate information about naturalization resulted in many veterans believing their military service automatically made them U.S. Citizens. It is shameful that our country has turned our backs on these men and women.”
Congressman Grijalva strongly urges Chairman Goodlatte, Chairman Thornberry or Chairman Poe to grant a hearing so the issue can be fully explored in Congress. “After sacrificing so much to ensure our own freedom and protection, we owe it to these brave individuals to ensure they are not subject to deportation and allow those who have been deported to return,” Rep. Grijalva said. “The irony of it all, is that the only way deported veterans can come back to the country they fought to protect is in a casket, where they will be given a proper military burial and all the accolades they have earned. In the meantime, they are denied their military and veteran benefits and separated from their families. Deporting the men and women who committed themselves to protecting our country is not only shameful, but signals a new low in how we treat our veterans.”
Full text of the letter requesting committee hearings can be found here.