United States congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) is on a mission to stop President Donald Trump from deporting veterans.
In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Gonzalez said that approximately 1,400 veterans who were undocumented but fought for the country in Iraq and Afghanistan had been deported in recent years.
Evidently, much of this occurred prior to Trump’s presidency, however, the mass deportations that have been occurring under his watch continue to threaten undocumented immigrants who are law-abiding, valuable contributions to American society.
“I am looking for a Republican colleague to join me in this effort. It is the most American thing to do. To take of our veterans who fought for us. Many were highly decorated veterans that were in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of them came home with high levels of PTSD. We didn’t offer them the mental healthcare they needed to transition them back into society,” Gonzalez said.
“These are folks who have never had any legal trouble in their life,” the congressman continued. “They were discharged honorably. They get into a little trouble and they are deported.”
Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies indicate there is likely no end in sight for this unfair treatment of undocumented veterans, which is why Gonzalez seeks to raise awareness around the issue and rally support to stop these unjust deportations.
“Nobody talks about it. We need to bring more attention to it. It is a real indictment on our country to deport people who have defended us. If you fought for this country, you certainly deserve to live in it.”
Gonzalez is absolutely right, but unfortunately, the deportation of undocumented veterans is a reflection of how poorly America treats its vets in general. Black people, women, LGBT folks, Muslims, and members of other marginalized groups also join the military and fight for this country and yet, they often don’t reap the benefits of the freedoms they risk their lives to protect.
Sadly, under the Trump administration full of racists and bigots, Gonzalez’s efforts may fall short.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mario Anzuoni