Democratic Senator Alex Padilla announced a bill Wednesday to prevent the deportation of immigrant veterans from the United States Armed Forces and pave the way to citizenship for eligible military personnel and their families.
The project called the Veterans Deportation Prevention and Reform Act aims to establish a Military Family Immigration Advisory Committee, which would analyze the circumstances of veterans facing deportation and make recommendations on whether the removal from the country of these immigrants should be suspended.
The proposal also seeks to analyze the circumstances of the relatives of the soldiers facing deportation.
“The United States has an obligation to support veterans and their families, regardless of their immigration status,” Padilla said in a statement.
The California senator added that the bill “will help keep families together and keep veterans where they belong, in the country they served and fought for.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Democratic Senators Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, and Elizabeth Warren, as well as independent Bernie Sanders.
Congressmen Mark Takano, Raúl Grijalva, and Juan Vargas presented similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
A report from the US Government Accountability Office estimates that 92 veterans were deported between 2013 and 2018. But the numbers are much higher, according to groups of deported veterans working for their return.
Family members of the military have also been targeted by immigration authorities, as is the case of the mother of the second lieutenant of intelligence of the Army Gibrán Cruz, Rocío Rebollar Gómez, who was deported from San Diego to the border city of Tijuana in January of 2020.
The immigrant was able to return to the United States in May of this year after a legal claim and a campaign launched by her son and organizations defending the rights of immigrants.
In this regard, Congressman Takano stressed that “Congress must correct these errors.