Things That Matter

Its 2016 And Latino Veterans Are Getting Discharged, Then Deported

Discharged, Then Deported is a new nonprofit that is trying to make the lives of military veterans better. The organization, which launched this week, will work with military veterans who served the United States as legal residents but were then denied citizenship and the basic medical assistance afforded to those who have fought for this country.

A new advocacy group, Discharged, Then Deported, is trying to make sure denial of medical services never happens again.

Credit: Discharged, Then Deported / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Discharged, Then Deported / Facebook

During a Sept. 19 press conference, Discharged, Then Deported chairman Nathan Fletcher laid out his coalition’s mission.

“As we see all too common with veterans, although they may have left the war, the war doesn’t always leave them. They struggle with post-service life. Oftentimes they turn to alcohol and substance abuse, and they run afoul of the law,” Fletcher stated. “After they had paid their debt to society for the actions they had taken, they were deported.”

That’s right. After fighting in a war for a country they love, some military veterans have been forcibly deported and denied medical treatment.

Credit: Parks And Rec. / NBC / hola105 / Tumblr
CREDIT: Credit: Parks And Rec. / NBC / hola105 / Tumblr

According to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, there have been at least 239 cases of military vets deported in the state alone.

“By requiring deportation and stripping immigration courts of the power to consider military service, the United States government abandons these veterans by expelling them to foreign countries at the moment when they most need the government’s help to rehabilitate their lives after service,” Bardis Vakili, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of California, said in a press release. “This is a tragic and disgraceful example of how broken our immigration system is.”

Immigration advocates are using the ACLU report to make sure that our boys who deal with conflict like this get the care they deserve.

According to The San Diego Union Tribune, California Rep. Juan Vargas will be introducing three new bills to try and help veterans who might face deportation due to our broken immigration system. The first would make naturalization information more accessible to military personnel, the second would create a tracking system so the government can keep tabs of the non-citizen military members, and the third will allow for those same non-citizens to enter the country to get any necessary medical treatments.

Let’s hope that soon we will see brave men and women coming home after war to this…

Credit: kaycehughes / BlogSpot
CREDIT: Credit: kaycehughes / BlogSpot

…rather than this.

Credit: LaSantaCeciliaVEVO / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: LaSantaCeciliaVEVO / YouTube

Learn more about Discharged, Then Deported by tapping here. You can read the full ACLU report here.

READ: There’s a New Movie About ‘Green Card Soldiers’ Who Fight In The U.S. Military

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Vanessa Guillen’s Abuela Traveled From Zacatecas to Say Goodbye To Her While Further Seeking Justice

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Vanessa Guillen’s Abuela Traveled From Zacatecas to Say Goodbye To Her While Further Seeking Justice

Sergio Flores / Getty Images

Update: Vanessa Guillen’s abuela, Lorenza Almanza, made the trip to the U.S. by bus to be with her family. Almanza is here to say goodbye to her granddaughter and to continue to bring attention to the need for justice.

Vanessa Guillen’s abuela is in the U.S. as the demand for justice in the case grows.

“I just want justice for my little Vanessa because she did not deserve this,” Almanza told Telemundo. She added: “God knows how they made my daughter suffer.”

According to NBC, Almanza brought a bar of chocolate from Zacatecas to leave at her memorial because it was her favorite. Almanza traveled to the U.S. with her children to all pay their respects and be with family. Despite COVID restrictions, the family was given a special visa to cross the border during this time.

Guillen’s murder investigation has rocked the U.S. Army. The 20-year-old soldier went missing in April after attempting to report sexual harassment while at Fort Hood. Months later, her remains were found in a shallow grave. A soldier who was a suspect committed suicide and his girlfriend, a civilian, was arrested.

Original: The search for Vanessa Guillen has ended after human remains were identified as the missing soldier. An investigation into the crime has led to suspects being identified and arrested. Here’s what we know so far.

A soldier, who was a suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s death, committed suicide Wednesday.

Human remains were discovered Tuesday and identified as Vanessa Guillen on Wednesday. The suspects in Guillen’s death have not been named but one of the suspects committed suicide on Wednesday morning. The military suspect shot himself while law enforcement was searching for him.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas Equusearch, told the Houston Chronicle that he believes the military suspect killed himself at 1:30 a.m. local time. The military suspect, who was in Killeen, Texas, committed suicide shortly after human remains were discovered near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas.

Guillen’s family have expressed their grief at press conferences since the body was identified.

The family is demanding justice. One civilian suspect is currently in jail after being arrested in connection with Guillen’s death. One of Guillen’s sisters recognized the military suspect. Mayra Guillen told the press that she met the military suspect who committed suicide.

“At approximately 1:29 a.m., officers located the suspect in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue,” reads the statement from the Killeen Police Department website. “As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect displayed a weapon and discharged it towards himself.  The suspect succumbed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The suspects have not been identified, however, we do have descriptions of the suspects.

“The person who took his own life earlier today in Killeen after being sought by Killeen police and federal marshals was a soldier from Fort Hood and had fled the base earlier in the day,” reads a statement by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. “A civilian has been arrested in connection with Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance. The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood Soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities.”

The case has captivated the nation as some people hurt for the family.

The investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s death is still ongoing. There are no answers yet but her family alleges that Guillen was coming forward with sexual assault and harassment allegations. The family’s recounting of Guillen’s sexual assault allegations is renewing the conversation of sexual assault in the military.

The family is calling out Fort Hood and the military’s response to the disappearance of Guillen. According to the family, they have been pleading with Fort Hood and the U.S. Army to conduct an investigation but saw nothing happening.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood Likely Vanessa Guillen’s

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Military Members Are Sharing Stories Of Sexual Assault In The Military Using #IAmVanessaGuillen

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Military Members Are Sharing Stories Of Sexual Assault In The Military Using #IAmVanessaGuillen

David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

Vanessa Guillen went missing on April 22 from a parking lot at Fort Hood. Before going missing, Guillen confided in her family about alleged sexual assault and harassment she faced at the U.S. Army base. Her story sparked an online movement to talk about sexual assault in the military.

Women are using #IAmVanessaGuillen to talk about sexual assault in the U.S. military.

It wasn’t until recently that movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp made it clear that society was done with making excuses for sexual assault. Powerful and influential men have fallen because of their behavior. The disappearance of Vanessa Guillen is shining a renewed light on sexual assault in the military.

The stories range from inappropriate behavior from superiors to rape from fellow soldiers.

Women see themselves reflected in Guillen and her story. Former military women are shedding the shame and fear of coming forward to tell their stories in a public space. The unity on social media is offering women comfort and support as they open up about the most personal thing someone can talk about.

Some of the stories are absolutely heartbreaking.

According to a report from the Defense Department, sexual assault in the U.S. military went up 3 percent between fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The department reported 7,825 reports of sexual assault on service members. However, Pentagon officials assert that the change cannot be characterized as an increase in assaults. A prevalence survey on sexual assault in the military is conducted every other year.

According to some women, the assault and harassment started quickly.

The same study found that sexual assault at the 3 military academies saw a spike of 32 percent. The figures show an increase of 117 reported sexual assaults in 2018 compared to 149 sexual assaults reported in the academies.

“Our Academies produce our future leaders. At every turn, we must drive out misconduct in place of good order and discipline. Our data last year, and the findings from this year’s report, reflect the progress we have made in some areas, and the significant work that remains,” Elizabeth Van Winkle, the executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency, said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “We will not falter in our efforts to eliminate these behaviors from our Academies and to inculcate our expectation that all who serve are treated, and treat others, with dignity and respect.”

Some men have also used the hashtag to share their own experiences.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 out of every 10 rape victims is male. The study also shows that 1 out of every 33 men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault.

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone, you can call 1 (800) 656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN by clicking here.

READ: Partial Human Remains Found Near Fort Hood During Search For Vanessa Guillen

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