The naturalization applications of dozens of US veterans born overseas, who later faced, or have been, deported were misplaced, lost or not filed by the federal government. This is according to a new report released by California’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday.
The report, “Discharged, Then Discarded,” documents as many as 84 different cases involving veterans. The ACLU issued a statement saying that there is a growing number of US armed forces veterans unceremoniously deported from the country they served. Some of these were Vietnam veterans still suffering from emotional trauma and physical wounds. They were removed from the country for what were, often, minor offenses.
The report alleges that the federal government did not ensure that the veterans received naturalization while they were in the US military, in spite of their service entitling them to it. The ACLU report also alleges that some federal officials did not offer the level of assistance and resources needed for the completion and filing of the necessary paperwork. Some veterans believed that they automatically gained US citizenship because of their military service or by taking the oath to help protect the nation. The report claims that there was deliberate misleading by the recruiters.
Around 70,000 people who do not have citizenship enlisted in the military between 1999 and 2008. It is uncertain how many veterans have been deported, with such data left untracked by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.