ACLU Comment on Introduction of Veteran Service Recognition Act

July 12, 2023 1:30 pm

WASHINGTON — House Democrats and Republicans joined together today to introduce the Veteran Service Recognition Act (VSRA) into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan legislation, which is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, would support noncitizen service members and veterans in becoming citizens, ensure that the government considers military service in decisions on deportations of veterans and immediate family members, and create opportunities for deported veterans to return home.

Naureen Shah, ACLU senior legislative counsel, urged Congress to take swift action in passing the VRSA:

“People who have served our nation’s military deserve a pathway to citizenship and the opportunity to come home if they were deported. Under the VSRA, noncitizen service members would be given accurate information and the assistance they need to naturalize expeditiously during their service. As citizens, they would no longer face the threat of deportation and banishment from the country they have sworn to protect with their own lives.

“Many veterans were children when their parents brought them here. But too often, they have been banished to countries they do not know, without medical and social support services that, as veterans, they deserve. Like Dreamers and many others, noncitizens serving in our military are Americans in every way but on paper. With this legislation, members of both parties have come together to recognize the need for a common sense solution.

“Congress should pass this legislation to ensure that service members and veterans get the respect and assistance they deserve.”

Since 2015, the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties have partnered with the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana to urge the return to the U.S. of deported veterans, an end to the deportation of veterans, and improved access to military naturalization.

The Veteran Service Recognition Act was introduced by Reps. Takano, Salazar, Radewagen, Lofgren, Nadler, Correa, Vargas, and Ruiz. It has been endorsed by the American Legion, VoteVets, Union Veterans Council, and Veteran of Foreign Wars Department of California, among others.

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