From: The Honorable Juan Vargas
Sent By:
eddie.meyer@mail.house.gov

Date: 9/15/2016

Dear Colleague:

Please join me by cosponsoring legislation to identify non-citizen servicemembers and veterans. There has been a long tradition of foreign-born soldiers who have served in the U.S. military since the founding of the republic. Many of these individuals enlist
in the military under the false belief that military service will automatically make them U.S. citizens.

Currently, neither the Department of Defense (DOD) nor the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tracks the progression of their immigration statusas there is no mechanism for either agency to track this data. There have been dozens of reports about non-citizen
veterans who have been deported after committing a low-level offense because of their immigration status. Immigration judges and DHS officials are given limited prosecutorial discretion when adjudicating individuals subject to removal who have served in the
military.  However, the unsustainability of this demographical data makes it nearly impossible to exercise prosecutorial discretion. There is insufficient data to effectively understand the depth of this problem and protect all of our veterans.

The federal government needs a mechanism to identify non-citizen servicemembers and veterans. Strong interagency coordination must be established for the information to be gathered and utilized. My legislation would:

  • Direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to identify non-citizens who have served in the armed forces when applying for immigration benefits or when placed in immigration enforcement proceedings.  This information will enable DHS to “fast track” service
    members and veterans who are applying for naturalization while also allowing officials to practice prosecutorial discretion, if appropriate, when adjudicating their cases.

For more information about the bill or to become a cosponsor of the legislation, please contact Eddie Meyer at
eddie.meyer@mail.house.gov (202-225-8045).

Sincerely,

 

JUAN VARGAS

Member of Congress