August 31, 2019

Duckworth Statement on Gov. Pritzker’s Pardon of Miguel Perez, Jr.


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) issued the following statement today regarding Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker granting clemency to combat Veteran Miguel Perez, Jr.:

“Miguel Perez’s own life demonstrates why our nation should never give up on our combat Veterans, even during tough times. During his time in prison, Mr. Perez finally received the mental health treatment he so desperately needed as a Veteran returning from war and took great strides to reform his life. I commend Governor Pritzker’s leadership in granting clemency to Mr. Perez, but now he deserves the opportunity to attend his naturalization hearing as he seeks to become a proud citizen of the very country he risked his life to defend.”

Senator Duckworth was active in efforts to save Miguel Perez, Jr., from deportation, introducing a private bill in February of 2018 to help him remain in the United States. She wrote several letters of support for Perez’s retroactive citizenship application, as well as a letter asking former U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielson to personally review Perez’s case. After Perez’s deportation, Duckworth spoke out, calling the deportation a “tragic example of what can happen when national immigration policies are based more in hate than on logic and ICE doesn’t feel accountable to anyone.”

Earlier this year, on the one-year anniversary of Perez’s deportation, Duckworth re-introduced three bills to protect and support Veterans and servicemembers. Her proposals—the Veterans Visa and Protection Act, HOPE Act and I-VETS Act—would 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.