WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced the Veterans Visa and Protection Act of 2019. The legislation would establish a veteran visa program that would allow for eligible deported veterans to permanently return to the United States as lawful permanent residents.
“It is unconscionable that the phrase ‘deported veteran’ even exists,” said Rep. Grijalva. “If you’re good enough to enlist in our military and fight for this country, you’re good enough to become a U.S. citizen. I am proud to reintroduce this legislation to ensure that we honor our commitments to all veterans and end this shameful practice of deporting them even after they serve time for the offense they committed.”
While very little data exists on the number of veterans deported, advocates estimate that more than 2000 veterans are currently living in Mexican border towns after their deportation. Under current law, the only way that deported veterans can return to the United States is only in death, for a burial in a veteran’s cemetery. By allowing deported veterans to return, this legislation will reunite families and allow veterans access to their hard-earned VA benefits.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“Men and women willing to wear our uniform shouldn’t be deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend,” Sen. Duckworth said. “These pieces of legislation will help Servicemembers become citizens and help Veterans like Miguel who have been deported return to this country, enabling them to live here with their families and ensuring they can access the life-saving VA care they earned through their tremendous sacrifices.”
The Veterans Visa and Protection Act is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Legion.
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