Deported Veterans In Tijuana Will Get A Visit From Texas Congressman Joaquin
Texas congressman Joaquín Castro is heading to Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday to visit several veterans that live in a shelter after they were deported from the United States. Castro also plans to introduce new measures to Congress that will hopefully help these service members.
For decades, immigrants have served in the United States armed forces, some of them with the hope that their service will lead to citizenship. However, many service members have not only been denied citizenship — they have also been deported. Recruiters tell service members that they can quickly gain citizenship for themselves and their family after serving honorably. But many of them assume that just by serving, they are automatically citizens. That is not the case. They are often not informed about the actual process and paperwork needed in order to make that happen.
If service members get into any sort of trouble with authorities, regardless of the matter, it could also hinder the possibility of becoming a citizen.
“Many of us believe that they should be allowed to become citizens,” Castro told NBC Latino. “Many, if not most, were legal permanent residents, who were eligible to become citizens and perhaps never applied — they stood up for their country and put their lives on the line.”
Castro’s visit will include meeting veterans that are currently living at the Deported Veterans Support House — a shelter in Tijuana.
As of January 2017, statistics provided by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus show there are 10,644 non-citizens currently serving in the U.S. military and an additional 11,524 non-citizens under reserve status.
A 2016 report by the ACLU estimates that the United States has deported more than 230 veterans.
Overall, there are about 608,000 living foreign-born veterans of the U.S. armed forces. After Mexico, the greatest numbers of lawful permanent resident service members come from the Philippines, Jamaica, South Korea, and the Dominican Republic.
Lawmakers traveling with Castro are proposing to introduce at least four new measures that would help veterans gain citizenship, have healthcare protections, and have a proper training system in place that will give them access to citizenship.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have naturalized more than 109,321 noncitizen service members between 2002 and 2015.
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