Should undocumented veterans be given citizenship? | The Tylt
Volunteering for the army has traditionally been a fast-track to citizenship for green card holders. In recent years, a growing number of undocumented immigrants have joined the armed forces—only to be deported later. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is introducing legislation that would protect veterans from deportation because that's the right thing to do. But others say the rules are the rules, and people must follow the proper procedures to become a citizen. What do you think? 🇺🇸
Should undocumented veterans be given citizenship?
Despite assurances from President Donald Trump, undocumented veterans continue to be deported. The ACLU has found at least 300 cases where veterans have been deported. Many undocumented veterans, like many others, are coming back suffering from trauma after prolonged tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But unlike other veterans, undocumented veterans lack the same safety net provided by the office of Veteran Affairs because of draconian immigration laws that put undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation for the minor offenses.
In a statement, Senator Duckworth said veterans should be protected from deportation:
“Men and women willing to wear our uniform shouldn’t be deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend,” Duckworth said. “These pieces of legislation will help Servicemembers become citizens and help Veterans who have been deported return to this country, enabling them to live here with their families, and ensuring they have access to the life-saving VA care they have earned because of their tremendous sacrifices.”
Immigration hard liners say there should be no exceptions to the immigration process, no matter who you are. It's about upholding the rule of law in the United States. There's a clear process to immigrate here and people must follow it. It's unfair to those who wait for years to obtain their citizenship.
Others point out that veterans must violate the law before they're targeted for deportation. Many of these undocumented veterans were caught for violent crimes or drug offenses that put them on the radar for deportation.
When it comes to noncitizens, Rummery says the law is clear. “If you’ve been convicted of certain offenses, it’s a deportable act,” says Rummery, “even for veterans." She added, “We don’t ask ourselves what’s fair or not fair. We’re simply here to administer the law. That’s what we’re charged with. That’s what we do.”