RELEASE: New report documents the moral and economic impact of deporting Texas veterans, provides solutions
For Immediate Release
Thursday, February, 2018
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 956.787.8171, ext. 125.
An estimated 3,000 veterans who served their country have been deported
Alamo, TX — Texas is home to both the second-highest number of noncitizen individuals and the second-highest number of veterans in the nation. Our state is also home to a high number of noncitizen veterans who have face or will face removal from the country they risked their lives serving, according to a new analysis released today by the Texas Civil Rights Project.
The groundbreaking report, titled “Land of The Free, No Home to the Brave” — compiled through open-records requests of federal and state agencies, interviews with deported veterans, and independent legal and factual research — documents the enormous moral, economic, and social costs of deporting veterans who laid there life on the line for the country. As observed by veteran Isidro Tovar in the report: “according to our motto, we don’t leave [anybody] behind…But it seems to me that they left us behind.”
At a time of intense debate over the future of the immigration system in Washington, DC, the Report lays out key recommendations to ensure that our government does not abdicate its responsibility to care for veterans and treat them fairly, including:
- Encouraging all branches of the military to standardize and make mandatory their policies and procedures regarding noncitizen servicemembers.
- Allowing deported veterans parole to enter the U.S. to seek Veterans’ Affairs health care services.
- Encouraging Texas judicial districts to establish more Veterans’ Treatment Courts.
- Rethinking cooperation between federal immigration authorities and state and local criminal justice systems in veterans’ cases.
- Giving immigration judges special discretion in removal proceedings to consider factors such as a veteran’s military service and ties to the community.
Emma Hilbert, a staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project and author of the report, issued the following statement:
“Like a wolfpack, our country is built on the promise and commitment of leaving no veteran behind. But instead of finding that support, veterans who risked their lives for us are facing deportation and being ripped away from their families and from the country they love, and simply because of a mistake or because they could not navigate the deep web of bureaucracy in our broken immigration system. This is not who we are. As Texans, and as a country, we have a duty to ensure that these veterans are treated with the respect they deserve. Today, we released a concrete set of steps to correct our country’s moral failure and we urge policymakers in our state and in Washington, DC, to take immediate action. In the meantime, TCRP will not stop shining a light on the stories of these veterans and we ask Texans to join us.”