Kemi Bello, ILRC Communications Manager

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   
July 14, 2016                                      

Kemi Bello, kbello [at] ilrc.org, (415) 321-8568

Bill Introduced In Congress to Bring Deported U.S. Veterans Back Home

WASHINGTON, DC— The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) commends today’s introduction of the Veteran Visa and Protection Act by U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ). The Veteran Visa and Protection Act seeks to address the past and current deportations of long-time U.S. residents who have also served in our nation’s armed forces.  

Contrary to popular belief, military service does not automatically confer citizenship. As a result of our nation’s draconian and punitive immigration laws, immigrant military veterans – some of whom have been wounded during service and/or decorated – are still subject to deportation.

The Veteran Visa and Protection Act directs the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to allow the vast majority of deported veterans to return home to the United States. The bill also provides relief to immigrant veterans in deportation proceedings and those who may be otherwise ineligible for U.S. citizenship.

“It is shameful that our nation continues to deport long-time residents who have served honorably in our nation's armed forces. These veterans deserve our nation's gratitude for their service, not banishment from the communities they have come to call home. Representative Grijalva's bill is a crucial first step to remedying this injustice and modernizing our immigration system," notes Jose Magaña-Salgado, Managing Policy Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Unlike other bills seeking to support deported veterans, this bill would not exclude the vast majority by containing onerous criteria that most deported veterans likely would not meet. This bill represents the gold standard for legislation to help deported veterans rightfully return to the United States.

The ILRC calls upon Congress to incorporate the Veteran Visa and Protection Act into future comprehensive immigration reform efforts and honor all of our nation’s veterans equally, regardless of their immigration status.