Immigration fails to give veterans special consideration

A report released last week showed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not take a person’s military service into consideration before deporting them. In addition to this, ICE does not track how many veterans are deported but does require that their agents look at employment history, health, community service, deployments to war zones, military decorations, and years in service before deporting them.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, “During a study of deportations from 2013 through 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that ICE did not follow these policies. Homeland Security agents told the GAO that they were unaware of the policies and don’t distinguish between veterans and nonveterans.”

As a result of failing to identify veterans, the agency effectively does not know the exact amount of veterans placed in removal proceedings or the number of veterans that have already been removed.

The Immigration and Nationality Act enables immigrant servicemembers to apply for citizenship. However, in a 2016 report released by the American Civil Liberties Union, many servicemembers did not realize that their citizenship was not automatic. Under the law, honorably discharged veterans who are not citizens of the United States may be deported if they are convicted of crimes.

According to the limited amount of data supplied by ICE, approximately 250 veterans were placed in deportation proceedings spanning 2013 through 2018, and a total of 92 had been removed from the country. The most common home countries among the 250 veterans placed in deportation were Mexico, Jamaica, El Salvador, Trinidad, Germany, and Guatemala.

To learn more about this important news affecting all immigrant veterans, click here.