November 11, 2019

Sen Tammy Duckworth Spends Veterans Day In Mexico To Be With Veterans Deported By Trump Administration

Source: Newsweek


Iraq War veteran and Democratic Senator and Tammy Duckworth spent her Veterans Day across the border to be with veterans who have been deported to Mexico under the Trump administration.

Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in 2004 while serving in Iraq, said she had wanted to spend the day in Tijuana to honor the service of veterans who have been turned away from the U.S. despite serving for the country.

In a statement following her visit to The Bunker, a shelter for veterans who have been deported from the U.S., Duckworth said she was both "ashamed of and heartbroken by how our nation is treating the deported veterans I met with."

"They are Americans all but on paper, many of whom enlisted after then-President George W. Bush signed an executive order fast-tracking citizenship for those willing to serve—but who, because of things like lost paperwork, fell through the cracks, never officially became citizens," she said.

"I refuse to let them believe that everyone in government has forsaken them, and I want them to know that I haven't—which is why I spent this Veterans Day at that makeshift refuge in Mexico, recognizing the sacrifices they made for the country they love," Duckworth asserted.

Video and photos of the visit show Duckworth with a number of veterans who have been forced to find shelter at The Bunker.

During her time in Tijuana, the senator also visited Parque de la Amistad, which sits on the border between the U.S. and Mexico and allows family members on either side to reach through a border wall to greet each other.

She also took time to meet with Consul General Sue Saarnio to discuss what the State Department could be doing to help support the veterans.

Over the course of this year, Duckworth has sought to fight for veterans who have been deported from the U.S. under the Trump administration, with the senator re-introducing three bills seeking to protect veterans and current servicemembers.

Her proposals, which include the Veterans Visa and Protection Act, HOPE Act and I-VETS Act, seek to ban the deportation of any veterans who are not violent offenders and provide legal permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship through military service.

They also seek to connect veterans with the healthcare services she says they have earned.

Duckworth has been a prominent voice in condemning the Trump administration's controversial policy that allows veterans who are not U.S. citizens to be deported if they are guilty of any offenses, including nonviolent ones.

By:  Chantal Da Silva