VETERANS, IMMIGRANTS, AND THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER
The way we treat people is the ultimate indicator of our character. Take for example our veterans. It is not a secret that our veterans are not given the attention or care they deserve. But what does it say about our government when it is incapable or unwilling to adequately serve the men and women who put everything on the line for this country?
Another example: our government has decided that certain human beings are not eligible for basic protections simply because they are not US citizens. Protection form being uprooted, forcibly removed with minimal notice, separated from loved ones. What does it say about our the government when it is incapable of treating a person with the respect and dignity that has been inalienably bestowed on each and every human being by the “Creator” our leaders claim to follow?
But I have one better. Imagine a veteran deported out of the country for which he fought? Ridiculous you say? Well, as established, both veterans and immigrants have been left out to dry, so why would such an idea surprise you?
Is it conceivable that a person who signed up to fight our government's wars with the understanding that he/she would become a US citizen be deported after being charged with a DUI? A drug offense? For failure to pay probation fees? Or how about for missing a court hearing due to surgery?
Well, hold on to your lug nuts because.... it's true. This country has been deporting military veterans for years.
Conveniently, Homeland Security, which handles and tracks deportations, doesn’t count how many veterans have been deported. But many sources that track veteran deportation indicate that the number is in the thousands.
An immigrant veteran will be deported if he/she commits any felony. Imagine what would happen to a US citizen if he was a veteran and committed a crime. They would be arrested and serve their time, then to be reintegrated into society where they will still be able to benefit from veterans' care. On the other hand, an immigrant veteran will be arrested, serve their time in jail, and then be kicked out of the country, most often after living there for a very longtime. The law says that person is still entitled to veterans' benefits but the reality is quite different. These veterans are unable to enter the US to get veterans' assistance and healthcare is not offered overseas. So the is an absolute discrepancy in the punishment given the immigrant veterans who commit a felony compared to their US counterparts.
A veteran committing a felony that involves alcohol or drugs draws attention, because of the many veterans who fall prey to substances due to the trauma they have witnessed in war and regularly relive. If their involvement in such felonies is due to the consequences of war and the lack of care thereafter, then we are opening up a whole new can of morality worms.
Citizenship is not automatic after serving in the military, contrary to popular belief; it is simply “facilitated”. The issue arises from a misunderstanding between recruiters and potential immigrant recruits. Many have reported that recruiters misrepresented the situation. They were under the impression that citizenship would be automatic or even simply guaranteed, without additional burdensome steps. Deportation is a massive deterrent to the commission of crimes in many circumstances. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
If you were wondering what our political leaders are doing about it, turns out they already know and don't care. Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona's 7th District introduced a bill on April 20, 2016 to prevent this in the future, but it was not enacted. A new bill was introduces this month but was merely assigned to a congressional committee to be studied. PredictGov, a site that calculates the chances of a particular law of passing, gives it a 1% chance of being enacted.
So what does this further say about the character of our government or our nation? While you mull this over, I will leave you one last thought. Immigration law applies only to the living and veterans are by law given the right to a burial in a national cemetery. When a deported veteran, forbidden from re-entering the US during his lifetime, dies, his body is allowed to return to the US to be buried with all the honors afforded by our government. Think this hasn't happened yet? Think again...