The Biden administration launched an initiative to find deported U.S. veterans and bring them and their families back to America “to ensure they are able to obtain VA benefits to which they may be entitled,” the Departments of Homeland Security and Veteran Affairs announced Friday.
Why it matters: Legal immigrants can and do join the U.S. military, and potentially hundreds of people have been deported after serving, according to the Washington Post.
What they’re saying: “The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the profound commitment and sacrifice that service members and their families have made to the United States of America,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Friday.
- “We are committed to bringing back military service members, veterans, and their immediate family members who were unjustly removed and ensuring they receive the benefits to which they may be entitled,” he added.
The big picture: DHS announced it will halt all pending deportation proceedings against veterans or their immediate family members and remove certain naturalization barriers for those eligible.
- DHS and VA are attempting to ensure that deported veterans receive health benefits, which include coronavirus vaccinations for them and their families.
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement have deported veterans for decades though the exact number of deportations is unknown because the government did not screen them before their deportation, according to the Post.