Deported Veterans to Get a Pathway Home

Biden Administration Announces Plan to Bring the Military Vets Back to the U.S.

July 2, 2021 5:45 pm

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The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs today jointly announced an interagency initiative to bring home the untold numbers of veterans who, over the past 25 years, were unjustly deported and banished from the United States, and to ensure that soldiers serving our nation can obtain their promised naturalization.

Since 2015, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have partnered with the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana to urge the return to the U.S. of deported veterans, an end to the deportation of veterans, and improved access to military naturalization.

“We applaud the Biden administration’s commitment to end the unconscionable deportations of America’s veterans and to engage in a meaningful process to bring our banished veterans home,” said Jennie Pasquarella, director of immigrants’ rights and senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

“U.S. veterans should be treated with the same honor and respect regardless of their citizenship status, and should never be permanently banished from their adopted country, their families, and all that makes life worth living. Too often, U.S. immigration policies have resulted in this country banishing its veterans to countries they left as small children and committing them to lives of isolation and destitution. This is not how we honor our service members.”

“We thank the administration for its dedication to reversing these immoral practices and look forward to working with officials to ensure that its commitments are realized in the repatriation of our veterans.”

The plan fulfills a promise Biden made during his campaign for the presidency. At a 2019 televised town hall in Grinnell, Iowa, he was asked what he would do about deported veterans. He answered, “Bring them back,” and went on to say that he and his wife had the honor of swearing in 120 soldiers and sailors, “none of whom were American citizens, all who had volunteered.”

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