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Military Veterans in Congress Introduce Bill to Help Deported Veterans

April 20, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Gallego (D-AZ) led a group of veteran members of Congress to introduce legislation that would help deported veterans to reunite with their families in the United States. The bill would also prevent the removal of service members and veterans in the future.

Specifically, the bill urges the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to use his powers under current law to readmit veterans into the United States who have been deported and who have not committed a serious crime. The bill also limits the current grounds of deportability to prevent the removal of a service member or veteran who has served at least 6 months in the military and who has not committed a serious crime.

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Charles Rangel (D-NY) and José E. Serrano (D-NY) are original co-sponsors of the legislation.

Rep. Ruben Gallego said, ““I fought in Iraq, and I know that on the battlefield what matters isn’t whether you have the right papers, it’s whether you have the right skills and the right character. Deportation is no way to thank the men and women who sacrificed so much to serve our country. Instead of separating these veterans from their families and the country they love and served, we should recognize the contributions they have made and can continue to make to the United States.”

Rep. Ted Lieu said, “As an immigrant and a veteran who previously served on active duty, I believe there is perhaps no greater injustice in our immigration system than the deportation of veterans. Any immigrant, documented or otherwise, who puts their life on the line to serve the United States in uniform should be entitled to their VA benefits and a peaceful life in our great nation. It is incomprehensible that we treat some veterans more like criminals than heroes. The Restoring Respect for Immigrant Service in Uniform Act would help us correct the system to treat all veterans with the respect they have earned.” | Contact: Jack D’Annibale (202-225-3976)

Rep. Charles Rangel said, “As a veteran, I know that one’s skin color or immigration status is the last thing that matters on the battlefield. We cannot turn our backs against our immigrant service members who fought to defend our freedoms. Yet despite their contributions, we have stripped them of the honor of serving in our nation’s armed services and taken them away from their families. I am proud to join my colleagues to help unite loved ones and pay respect to those who sacrificed on our behalf.” | Contact: Hannah Kim (202-225-4365)

Rep. José E. Serrano said, “Immigrants, regardless of status, come to our nation because they believe in the ideals, values, and opportunities that exist here. Some feel so strongly about their adopted nation that they choose to serve in our armed forces, and we should honor and respect that service. This bill addresses the inconceivable situation that some veterans find themselves in after their service – deported and forced to separate from their families. That our country deports those who have defended our flag and lived up to our nation’s most important ideals tells you all you need to know about how broken our immigration system currently is. Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform, but this is a common sense first step that no one should object to.”| Contact: Paola Amador (202-225-4361)