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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/13/17

U.S. Government Deports U.S. Military Veterans And Lowers Standards for Recruits

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Deported Veterans at School of the Americas Border Watch at Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Arizona.
Deported Veterans at School of the Americas Border Watch at Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Arizona.
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Veterans for Peace, an international military veterans organization, has chartered its newest chapter in Mexico, not of veterans of the Mexican military, as it has chartered chapters from the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and Okinawa for veterans of their own national military services.

The newest chapter of Veterans for Peace is composed of U.S. military veterans recruited from 30 other countries. These U.S. military veterans did not attain U.S. citizenship that was promised when they were recruited for U.S. military service. After their service in the U.S. military they ran afoul of law enforcement in some manner and were deported despite their willingness to die for this country.

Many veterans who were ultimately deported, were detained by police after traffic stops or other minor infractions and then turned over to immigration officials. A few committed felonies which, when traced to their root cause, were linked to the traumatic effects of U.S. military service in the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq in the past 16 years. Like thousands of other veterans, some of the deported veterans were homeless after being unable to function in society following their deployments.

They were sufficiently negatively affected both emotionally and psychologically, by their U.S. military experience that they were unable to complete the administrative paperwork to pursue the promised U.S. citizenship in exchange for their willingness to fight and die in the U.S. military. The number of deported U.S. military is unknown as the U.S government apparently is not asking deportees if he/she is a veteran. Requests by Veterans for Peace and other veterans groups for detention prisons to ask detainees if they are veterans have gone unfulfilled.

Hector Barajas, who founded the Deported Veterans Support house in Tijuana four years ago, has identified 350 deported U.S. veterans born in more than 30 countries, including India, Italy, Mexico and all seven nations of Central America.

In mid-November 2017, 10 deported members of the Veterans for Peace chapter in Tijuana, Mexico traveled to the School of the Americas Border Watch in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico to participate in the workshops held on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Several deported veterans told of how they were deported. A common theme was the lack of information from the U.S. military on the necessity of applying for citizenship after they were recruited. Several said they thought their service alone in the U.S. military automatically gave them citizenship.

The lack of help from the U.S. military to ensure that the veterans knew they had to officially apply for U.S. citizenship, particularly those suffering from post-traumatic stress and the inability to focus on their own medical needs, much less the paperwork for citizenship, meant that many U.S. military veterans are living in the U.S. without legal documentation. Their DD Form 214 as evidence of their service in the U.S. military is meaningless to law enforcement and ICE officials who take these veterans to a detention prison or immediately to the border and dump them across.

Some have been medically retired from the U.S. military due to their psychological or physical injuries and are receiving monthly medical payments. Because they have been deported they cannot continue to get medical services from the Veterans Administration as VA facilities are located in the U.S. and they are forbidden from entering the U.S. to continue to receive treatment that many have had for years.

One veteran said he was brought to the U.S. as a child by his parents. He had lived his entire life in the United States. He had a business in the United States before and after serving in the U.S. military. When he was deported he left his family -- parents, spouses, children, siblings -- behind in the United States.

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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