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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Veteran Affairs 

U.S. Veteran Deportation After U.S. Military Service
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Lord - PVNN
May 05, 2010

When it comes to immigrant veterans, the US fails. Too often, when immigrant veterans return from service, they're only given one thing: detention, often times leading to deportation. (photo:
The deportation of U.S. Veterans after they have served in the American Military is a subject that has had very few headlines in the American Press. I was skeptical of the validity of a claim when contacted by a reader, who asked that I get involved in spreading the information by shedding light in my column. I know that my time for preparation of an in-depth article of this situation is not possible with the current limited information, so I will present what I have learned and ask those interested to contact me by email with information they may add to better inform readers.

I know what a hot topic the U.S. Immigration policies (or lack thereof) after the passage of the new law in Arizona to authorize the Police to confirm their right to be in the US. The subject that I am addressing is not of the plight of the un-documented foreign born individuals. They number in the millions, they are seeking harbor or economic relief in the US, their presence and struggle is not what I am telling you about.

I am speaking of the foreign born immigrants that are legally in the U.S. and are either currently serving or have served in the US Military. A law known as The 1st Enrollment Act was passed by Congress during The Civil War requires immigrants to subject themselves to the U.S. Military Draft. This law was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1863.

To this day, all immigrants holding a green card in the U.S.A. are themselves subject to military service. Many Americans do not know this law exist, but ever since the Revolutionary War, immigrants have fought and died in our wars even before they gained their citizenship. It was not until 1996, when Congress changed the law, that anyone who has served in the military has been deported, according to Craig Shagin, an attorney defending veterans against deportation.

When a person living in United States of America puts on a uniform and defends our Nation, especially during a time of War, they deserve better. Imagine the agony of someone who has faced the enemy in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else we fight our perpetual wars of this day and age. They swear their allegiance to our Country and our cause, suffer the wounds both physical and mental that are inherent when defending our Nation. Then, upon completion of Military Service, having received an Honorable Discharge, they have not earned Citizenship from the United States.

We should treat them as equal U.S. Citizens, both in the courts and by the public law. How can we as a nation use them to defend us and then treat them as foreign nationals when they take off the uniform?

It happened as a result of the passage by Congress in 1996 of the Immigrations Nationality Act, which broadened the scope under which a green card holder could be subject to deportation. The strictness of the law gives no recourse or consideration for having served within our military and treats the veteran as any other foreign national.

They may have been wounded, they may be missing an arm or a leg, they may need expensive treatment and care for exposure to depleted uranium, munitions used in Iraq, or suffer from agent orange exposure - doesn't matter - they will be deported and may never apply for Citizenship again.

It is strange that if deported they will be eligible for burial in a National Cemetery on foreign soil, the coffin draped in the American Flag, then folded in the triangle familiar to veterans and handed to the Widow and/or Orphans... "From the President of the United States and the people of a grateful Nation we honor name (Paco Hernandez) for his service in the branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps) of the United States with this American Flag.

The website, has several stories and links that may be of interest to readers.

Information that may help veterans:


Board of Veteran's Appeals

CARES Commission

Center for Women Veterans

Clarification on the changes in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veterans

Classified Records - American Gulf War Veterans Assoc

Compensation Rate Tables, 12-1-03

Department of Veterans Affairs

Directory of Veterans Service Organizations

Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comp

Due Process

Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants

More info on Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants

Forms and Records Request
David Lord is a V.A. accredited Veterans Service Officer living full time as a resident of Mexico. David is retired from U.S.M.C. for a gunshot wound, his unit received the Presidential Unit Citation at Khe Sanh Combat Base. He was a rifleman with the 1/26th, 5th Marine Division in 1968 during the 77 day Siege at Khe Sahn, then awarded The Purple Heart for a gunshot wound in Quang Tri Province. Today, David helps veterans and their dependants with VA benefits in Mexico. For more information, email him at david.lord(at)

Click HERE for more Veteran Affairs with David Lord

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