Chairman Takano Applauds Biden Administration Progress to Help Deported Veterans
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) made the following statement after meeting with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.), Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), and Rep. Teresa Fernandez (D-N.M.) to discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to support deported veterans. This summer, VA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an initiative to support noncitizen veterans and earlier this month they held a successful COVID-19 vaccination event for deported veterans and their eligible family members at the U.S. - Mexico border. Chairman Takano reintroduced the Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act earlier this year with Reps. Vargas and Grijalva to prevent noncitizen veterans from being deported, improve tracking of noncitizen veterans in immigration proceedings, and bring certain eligible deported veterans back home.
“Noncitizen servicemembers fought to defend our nation, but for some, we repaid that dedicated service by exiling them from the country they call home. We have serious work to do to bring justice to these veterans, and I’m really encouraged by today’s productive meeting with Secretary McDonough and the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made,” said Chairman Takano. “For deported veterans, borders cannot be the barrier to the benefits they have earned and deserve. That’s why VA and DHS’s new initiative and successful joint vaccination event earlier this month gives me tremendous hope. By briefly escorting 21 deported veterans and eligible family members back to the United States–the country they served– to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and review their VA benefits, our nation began to make good on our promise. It is my hope that we can pass my Veteran Deportation Prevention and Reform Act with Reps. Vargas and Grijalva to prevent these deportations in the first place. As we continue this work, I’m grateful to have Secretary McDonough as a partner to ensure these veterans have access to their earned VA benefits.”
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