SAN DIEGO–The injustice faced by hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. military veterans who are being and have been deported was the focus of a campaign announced yesterday by a broad coalition of leaders including representatives of the veterans community, elected officials, business, labor and immigrant reform communities.
The coalition pledged to drive change for currently deported veterans and those who are facing deportation. Marine Corps veteran and former California Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher has agreed to serve as Chair of the group and stated the following, “If you were willing to give your life for your country, your country should be willing to give you citizenship.”
In July, The American Civil Liberties Union released a report bringing attention to many veterans who find themselves unable to return home due to deportation. The report outlines a series of policy changes needed to help address this problem. These proposed changes include suggested legislation for Congress and state legislatures along with federal executive orders and agency policy reforms.
Norma Chávez Peterson, the Executive Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial County states, “Without question, immigrants who are or have been members of the U.S. armed forces – who have sworn allegiance to the Constitution and who bravely put their lives on the line in services to this country –are of concern to us all.”
The press conference launches a campaign that focus on a series of local, state, and national action to address the problem. During the press conference, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) announced legislation that will soon be introduced to Congress this week.
Coalition supporters include: Nathan Fletcher, Former Assembly member and Marine Corps veteran United States Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51); California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez; Norma Chávez Peterson, Executive Director of ACLU of San Diego; David Garcias, SEIU 221 President and Mel Katz Former Chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.