December 06, 2022

Congressman Castro Votes to Help Deported Veterans Get Legal Permanent Residency and Return Home to the United States

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) voted for the passage of the Veterans Service Recognition Act, legislation that would help deported veterans obtain legal permanent resident status so long as they have not been convicted of serious crimes. The bill would also make it easier for noncitizen servicemembers to apply for naturalization while in the Armed Forces and establish a review process to protect noncitizen veterans, active servicemembers, and their families from deportation.

Congressman Castro has long advocated for noncitizen servicemembers. In 2017, he led a delegation of members of Congress to meet with a group of deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico. The following year, he hosted a Congressional forum alongside Reps. Vicente Gonzales, Mark Takano, and Raúl M. Grijalva to bring attention to the challenges faced by deported veterans.

 castro on the floor

Watch Congressman Castro’s remarks on the House floor

Earlier today, Congressman Castro delivered remarks in support of the Veterans Service Recognition Act during floor debate on the bill. A transcript of the remarks can be found below.

 A transcript of the remarks can be found below.

I rise in support of the Veterans Service Recognition Act because it's time to bring our deported veterans home.

Five years ago, I led a delegation of lawmakers to meet with a group of deported veterans at a support house in Tijuana, Mexico.

Most of these folks joined the military after 9/11, putting their lives on the line to defend American freedom and the freedom of our allies thousands of miles away.

When they enlisted, our nation gladly accepted their service.

And if they had perished on the battlefield, they would have been buried as American heroes, right here in the United States.

But when they came back home and struggled, they were kicked out of the nation they would have died to protect.

I represent San Antonio, Texas - known as Military City, USA.

And from how I see it, deporting our veterans is one of the worst acts of betrayal that our federal government can commit.

The Veterans Service Recognition Act will right this awful wrong by providing an opportunity for deported veterans to apply for permanent residency, and it will help current and future servicemembers apply for naturalization for themselves and their families.

This bill is about doing the right thing for those who served.

It's time to bring our deported veterans back home.