November 13, 2020

Duckworth Joins University of Chicago Veterans Day Panel to Discuss Deportation of U.S. Veterans


[CHICAGO, IL] — Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined the University of Chicago for a virtual panel today to discuss the Trump Administration’s deportation of U.S. Veterans as well as her efforts to support these individuals. Duckworth was joined by moderator and part-time lecturer at UChicago’s School of Social Service Administration Leora Hudak, President of Green Card Veterans Carlos Luna, deported and repatriated U.S. Veterans Miguel Perez and Hector Barajas, as well as other local and Military stakeholders. Video of the event is available here.

“I am ashamed of and heartbroken by how our nation treats its deported Veterans, and I refuse to let these men and women who fought for America believe that everyone in our government has forsaken them,” Duckworth said. “It’s simple – men and women willing to wear our uniform shouldn’t be deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend. It was an honor to discuss these issues today with Veterans and the University of Chicago, and I’ll keep doing what I can to help make sure the system doesn’t leave deported Veterans who have sacrificed for our nation behind.”

“We are deeply appreciative to Senator Duckworth for her participation in today’s program about the deportation of U.S. veterans,” Terrell Odom, US Navy Veteran and Office for Military-Affiliated Communities at the University of Chicago, said. “The University is committed to recruiting and supporting military-affiliated students, faculty, and staff, while applying the expertise of our academic community to important issues affecting veterans.”

“Our panel allowed for a robust conversation regarding the issues immigrant veterans face before they are ordered deported; and moving forward with correcting this wrong under the new Presidential administration,” Carlos Luna, president of Green Card Vets, said. 

Duckworth has been active in protecting Veterans from deportation and helping those who have been deported gain citizenship and access to important VA services. Earlier this year, she introduced the Strengthening Citizenship Services for Veterans Act, legislation that would ensure deported Veterans who have successfully completed the preliminary naturalization process can attend their citizenship interview at a port of entry, embassy or consulate without navigating the complex process of advance parole. Duckworth also introduced legislation to prohibit the deportation of Veterans who are not violent offenders, give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service and strengthen VA healthcare services for Veterans. Last year, Duckworth traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, on Veterans Day to meet with a group of Veterans who have been deported to hear about their efforts to access the VA healthcare benefits they’ve earned.