Despite putting their lives on the line for the United States, several veterans and their families are still at risk of being deported.
The Los Angeles Times found that both Manuel and Valente Valenzuela, who both served in the Vietnam War as a Marine and Army soldier, respectively, are now faced with deportation orders. Both men are in their 60s and have lived in the United States since the war.
Decked out in their blue military uniforms, the brothers recently marched along the U.S.-Mexican border to show their allegiance.
“We have to show what we have done and what we have sacrificed,” Manuel told the Times. “We are American. We could have died for this country.”
While some veterans remain safe, others return stateside to find that their family members’ lack of citizenship has put them up for deportation, according to Hispanically Speaking News. Often facing post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and emotional difficulties, veterans who have returned home often need the loving support of their families more than ever.
“These are people that are good for this country, that have given their all for this country and yet USCIS (the US Citizenship and Immigration Services) refuses to apply discretion when legalizing their family,” Jorge-Mario Cabrera, of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told PressTV. “They just refuse to do it! And I think that’s unconscionable.”
Military enrollment statistics show that more than 100,000 individuals of foreign descent are currently serving in the U.S. military, with 12 percent of those individuals currently without U.S. citizenship, according to PressTV.
Despite cases like the Valenzuela brothers growing in popularity, the U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agency maintains that veterans who have held green cards are treated more leniently than illegal immigrants, according to the Los Angeles Times.