Deportation of military veterans is a touchy subject, but what is even more touchy is the fact that the United States enlists thousands of immigrants a year, with the misleading notion that they will become citizens after serving our country. It isn’t as easy as it seems, though. The Los Angeles Times talks about Juan’s story:
Juan Valadez once embraced the Navy's ideals: Be your best, serve with honor, protect your country. But because he was born in Mexico and taken to the U.S. as an infant, his pact with America when he joined the military came with a catch: If he ever was convicted of a felony, he would be deported.
The only legal way to return would be in a casket — a final mercy the U.S. government grants veterans who die after deportation.
"They'll take you back once it's not no good to you anymore," Valadez said.
For much of its wartime history, the U.S. has offered naturalization to noncitizens who enlisted in the military and completed boot camp. The practice was halted after the Vietnam War and then resumed a generation later by the Army in 2009, and the Navy after that.
Valadez, 33, is one of the thousands who served in those middle years when naturalization wasn't a part of boot camp graduation.
Advocates estimate there are now at least 2,000 veterans living in northern Mexico, many in border towns such as Tijuana and Juarez where English speakers can find decent-paying work in telemarketing and other service-sector jobs. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn't track the military history of deportees, so it is difficult to tell exactly how many veterans the government has deported.
It is difficult to say where and how change is to be made concerning not only immigrants in the military, but immigrants in our country. What say you?
Check out another deportation story below!
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