LULAC APPLAUDS REPRESENTATIVE MARK TAKANO ON THE INTRODUCTION OF BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION: THE VETERAN SERVICE RECOGNITION ACT
Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Calls on Congress to Fulfill Its Promise to Our Military Heroes
July 13, 2023
For more information, contact David Cruz at (818) 689-9991
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is urging Congress to pass the Veteran Service Recognition Act to address the flaws in our current immigration system, allowing individuals to apply for naturalization during basic training, establishing a review process for those facing removal, and an opportunity for noncitizen veterans who have been removed or ordered removed, but not convicted of serious crimes, to obtain legal permanent resident status.
"Congress must act swiftly and pass the Veteran Service Recognition Act," said Domingo García, LULAC National President. "By doing so, they will honor the commitment made to those who serve in our military and provide a fair and just process for noncitizen veterans to obtain the legal status they deserve. This legislation ensures that all members of our armed forces, regardless of their immigration status, are treated with the dignity, respect, and gratitude they have earned."
The bill successfully passed the House in the 117th Congress. Representative Mark Takano, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, has steadfastly advocated for the cause. He states, "I have been fighting to prevent noncitizen veterans from falling through the cracks of our broken immigration system for years because it is shameful that they are being exiled from the same country they risked their lives to protect and defend."
"All Veterans deserve the benefits, rights, and privileges earned through selfless service to our Nation," adds Leonard Gonzales," Vice Chair of the LULAC Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. "We must ensure that current serving legal permanent residents are naturalized and that a path for Veterans who have been banished is created. America's honor and promise hangs in the balance," adds Gonzales. Joining the effort, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, states, "Immigrants who serve in our military should not have to worry about their immigration status. Every day, these brave men and women risk their lives to support our country. In return, we must honor their sacrifices by supporting them and their families and giving them every opportunity to become U.S. citizens."
Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz echoes these sentiments. "If you fight and risk your life for our country, you should be allowed to stay in our country. That's why the Veteran Service Recognition Act aims to prevent the deportation of noncitizen servicemembers and gives them due process in America and a fair shot at a pathway to citizenship," says Ruiz. Representative Juan Vargas further emphasizes the importance of honoring immigrant Veterans, highlighting that they deserve a pathway to citizenship. He states, "People who serve our country deserve to stay in our country, and we should not turn our backs on them."
The Veteran Service Recognition Act is an essential step toward rectifying the barriers faced by noncitizen Veterans in accessing the care and benefits they've rightfully earned. Representative Zoe Lofgren underlines the significance of this legislation, stating, "Throughout our country's history, immigrants have served in our military with bravery and distinction. However, sometimes, noncitizen Veterans face barriers to accessing the care and benefits they've earned and have even been deported despite their service to our country. That's unacceptable. Our Veteran Service Recognition Act rights those wrongs."
The legislation has gained support from various organizations, including the American Legion, UnidosUs, VoteVets, Union Veterans Council, ACLU, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and LULAC. These organizations recognize the sacrifices made by noncitizen veterans and the need to rectify the injustices they face.