Thousands of veterans who served in the U.S. military have been deported since the Korean War for instances of bad conduct. These deported veterans, who were promised a fast track to citizenship in America for their service, have been denied citizenship and returned to at least 25 different countries of origin. As reported by PBS, their crimes range from writing bad checks, petty drug offenses or driving under the influence. Since the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t track the number of veterans who have been deported, no one knows for sure exactly how many of these veterans have been deported. Experts estimate that the numbers are in the thousands.
In a letter to the Journal Star, veteran Paul Appell said these honorably discharged veterans were being denied their benefits through Veterans Affairs because they cannot collect those benefits overseas.
“They have been deported for offenses such as DUIs and bar fights, as well as more serious violations in a few cases. Thousands of VA-eligible veterans cannot access VA health care there.”
Appell went on to say that the only time the deported veterans are allowed to return to the U.S. is after they have died, as they are allowed to be buried in a U.S. military cemetery.
“These deported U.S. veterans can be and sometimes are brought back to the country they defended in the military. This is when they die and are then buried with full military honors in a military cemetery here in the U.S. I cannot help but interpret these actions as a message that says the best veteran is a dead veteran.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Vietnam veteran Conley Monk Jr., recently won a victory over bad conduct discharges that were issued to Vietnam veterans with PTSD. Because deported veterans have been denied their benefits, there is no way of knowing the mitigating circumstances for these veterans that could have contributed to the crimes they allegedly committed.
Currently 65,000 non-citizens serve in the U.S. military, and non-citizens have served honorably since the American Revolution. In a time when illegal immigrants are reportedly being released despite far more serious crimes, including rape and murder, why are deported veterans — who were in the U.S. legally, and who served honorably — being cast aside?
Despite their crimes, the deported veterans served the U.S. honorably, and they were promised American citizenship in exchange for their honorable service. They paid their debt to society for any crimes committed by serving jail time. Had the veterans been American citizens at the time of their crimes, they would have paid their debt to society and referred to Veterans Affairs for help. Instead, deported veterans have been sent back to their countries of origin and separated from their families. This is just one alleged offense in a long list of offenses committed against American veterans by the U.S. government. When will America stop giving lip service about helping veterans, particularly our deported veterans?
[Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images News]