The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.org

 

The only way deported Vietnam veteran Manuel de Jesus Castano was able to get back in the country he had considered his home was to die.

He was buried with full military honors at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, Texas.

The American Civil Liberties Union has documented at least 200 cases of deported veterans who aren’t American citizens. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) has sponsored H.R. 3429, to bring home deported veterans or prevent them from being deported.

“These veterans served our nation honorably,” Gonzalez said. “This legislation is our chance to bring back our deported veterans and make sure that the federal government takes better care of all those who put their lives on the line for our freedom.”

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t track how many veterans are deported, but deportation arrests have soared since Trump took office. Trump signed an executive order to expand those who can be deported to noncitizens who have committed a chargeable criminal offense.

Army veteran Miguel Perez Jr., who served two tours in Afghanistan has been ordered to return to Mexico where he hasn’t lived since he was 8. Perez, who has PTSD, is appealing and started a hunger strike.

“If it comes down to me being deported, I would rather leave this world in the country I gave my heart for,” Perez said.

Perez became a permanent resident in 1989 and said he mistakenly thought he became a citizen because of his military service. He served half of a 15-year prison sentence after he was pleaded guilty to distributing less than 100 grams of cocaine. After his release from prison in September 2016, he was turned over to ICE and sent to a Wisconsin detention center to await deportation.

Perez’s attorney said his life would be in danger if he is deported to Mexico where drug cartels target veterans with combat experience to work on their behalf.

Noncitizen soldiers have fought for our country since the Revolutionary War. Polish noble Casimir Pulaski died of injuries in 1779 from a battle in Savannah, Ga. During World War II, thousands of immigrants fought overseas and became citizens.

Immigrants once were able to apply for citizenship during basic training. In October, the Trump administration reversed the expedited path to citizenship, citing concerns about potential spies.

Perez unsuccessfully sought a pardon from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. A former Marine, Marco Chavez Medina, was able to re-enter the U.S. in December after 15 years in Mexico because he was pardoned in an animal cruelty case by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Honorably discharged veterans, even those who have been deported, like Castano who died in 2012, are entitled to burial at a U.S. military ceremony. They also get American flags laid over their caskets and engraved headstones.

“When they die, we bring their dead bodies back across the border and give them full military honors,” said Nathan Fletcher, a Marine veteran and former California assemblyman. “It’s absurd that we don’t allow them to come back alive.”

ACTION BOX/What You Can Do About ItContact members of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security to tell them your thoughts about deporting veterans. This is the subcommittee that could review the Repatriating Our Patriots Act. The phone number for the subcommittee is 202-225-3951.

The ACLU can be reached at 212-549-2500.

 

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Sen. Ted Cruz

A group of lawyers has submitted a 15-page ethics complaint to the State Bar of Texas demanding an investigation of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his “leading role” in the far-reaching Republican effort to keep former President Trump in power despite his reelection loss.

The complaint — filed by the 65 Project, an organization of lawyers seeking to hold attorneys accountable for lending a hand in pro-Trump efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections — called for an examination of Cruz’s conduct in the weeks before Election Day in 2020 and on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.

Keep reading... Show less

The House Select Committee, a bipartisan congressional panel looking into the Capitol insurrection, sent a letter on Thursday requesting an interview with a House Republican, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who it said led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 — the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the halls of Congress.

In the letter to Loudermilk, the select committee’s chairman and vice-chairwoman, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), said the panel had seen evidence that “directly contradicts” the claim made by Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — “of which you’re a member” — that they had reviewed security footage of the days before the Capitol attack and concluded that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}