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Immigrant Veterans that served then discarded
La Voz Staff Photo

By David Conde

Because we are a country at war, it is not unusual to hear members of the public thank our warriors for their service. Our veteran community also enjoys the credit that goes to those who serve our country and form part of that honored brotherhood.

Although we are too well aware of the shortcomings of, for example, the veteran medical facilities, our politicians assure us that there is a great commitment to right this wrong as it is important that we support our veterans and our fighting men and women in their noble tradition of keeping our country safe. It appears however, that this commitment does not extend to many immigrant veterans that come back from the wars, get into minor trouble and are shown the door of deportation. Almost 8,000 non-citizens join the American military every year, take an oath to the Constitution and train to go into battle to die, be wounded or return to the civilian world many times with memories that do not allowed them to live a normal life. The only sure thing in their minds has been that the recruiters told them that service in the military would make them citizens of the country they took an oath to defend.

Some have found out that they were misinformed by the government and applied for citizenship while serving only to have their applications misplaced or lost. Many finish their tour of duty without achieving citizenship and are vulnerable to a broken immigration system that does not honor their service.

So with their human condition compromised by war, they drink or take drugs, are arrested, convicted and deported. Thanking them for their service is conveniently forgotten along with access to a VA hospital they so desperately need.

Memorial Day that commemorates the ultimate sacrifice of our warriors in wars to defend America this year includes much political residue that that tends to dishonor the holiday. One newspaper’s report of the Memorial Day weekend reads, “Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason,” a headline associated with President Trump’s son-in-law’s alleged effort to work with the Russians to establish a direct link to the Kremlin using the Russian communication system in order to avoid American security services listening in.

When you compare the notion of this supposed betrayal of America and its intelligence institutions by a member of the privileged few holding one of the highest offices in the land to an immigrant patriot that fights for our country just to belong, something very wrong becomes apparent. When you add to it the fact that it is the same privilege class that seeks to discard and banish the immigrant from the country, it gives us a different picture regarding what is just and who really is the true American that deserves to be here.

Currently there is a letter-writing campaign to our congressmen and senators led by veteran leaders like Joe Davalos, Commander of the American GI Forum, Mile High Chapter in behalf of HR 1405 Veteran Visa & Protection Act of 2017 designed to end the deportation of veterans. There is also an ACLU of California Report titled, “Discharged, Then Discarded: How US. Veterans are Banished by the Country They Swore to Protect” that documents 59 cases concerning immigrant veterans.

This issue is urgent because it is creating a stain on the honor of the country. There is no more deserving individual in the United States than a veteran whose first obligation is the defense of America.





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