by Anisha Srivastava, Head of Editorial, Excuse My Accent
The stories of military veterans are tremendously diverse. They come from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds, but share a strong common desire; to serve the country they call home. Their individual motivations for choosing to serve, experiences while serving, and re-adjustment to civilian life cannot be captured in a single narrative. Today, on Veterans Day, we seek to bring awareness to a particular group of veterans whose experiences are seldom shared; deported veterans.
These veterans enlisted while non-citizens, but as permanent residents with green cards, who, after serving, were deported from America.
When enlisting, non-citizens are promised an expedited path to citizenship but this process has little oversight and there is very little guidance on the steps that must be taken. As a result, there is confusion on what exactly the official process is for obtaining citizenship. Some veterans, when taking the military oath “swearing allegiance to the Constitution and promising to defend it against all foreign and domestic enemies” understandably believe they have become citizens. Even with the promise of an expedited path to citizenship, many veterans complete their service but remain non-citizens, vulnerable to the harsh immigration laws in this country.
Even with the promise of an expedited path to citizenship, many veterans complete their service but remain non-citizens, vulnerable to the harsh immigration laws in this country.
Margaret Stock, an expert on immigration law in relation to military personnel and veterans, shared that “any lawful permanent resident, veteran or not, can be deported upon conviction of a crime that falls under the extremely broad umbrella of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. This can be either a misdemeanor or felony, and typically includes anything from assault, fraud and perjury to robbery, theft and bribery. The rulings are often viewed by immigration lawyers as arbitrary and the immigration code now includes scores of petty offenses listed alongside the severe ones, all punishable by deportation.”
Learning that veterans have been -- and continue to be -- deported is a shock. America’s broken immigration system inflicts unimaginable injustices on many communities and even those who sacrifice everything for this country are unprotected. The process and laws permitting and enforcing the deportation of veterans are not black and white. In the coming weeks we will share individual stories of deported veterans and explore the nuances of this injustice.
Over the past year Excuse My Accent has worked with The Deported Veterans Support House whose mission is to advocate for deported veterans and assist with securing their pensions, provide shelter, and expenses to help gain citizenship to bring our vets home.
Follow our journey at Excusemyaccent.com and add us on instagram @excusemyaccent.co