A coalition of groups trying to help military veterans from being deported took their fight to Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Ashley’s Memory Project and United Deported Veterans met with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, DC.
The groups are trying to make citizenship automatic for all honorably discharged service members.
Right now, citizenship is not required to enlist in the military. That means legal permanent immigrants – who reside in the US and serve in the military – can be deported if they commit crimes.
U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-CA, 32nd District, wants President Donald Trump to support those veterans who may be living in the shadows and fearing deportation.
“If Trump said veterans ought to be recognized, veterans anywhere, anyhow - no matter the circumstance - should be recognized,” Napolitano said. “Especially the Gold Star mothers. I mean, what more do they want?”
Carlos Luna, a U.S. citizen born abroad, was almost mistakenly deported. Now he works to educate fellow veterans on immigration rules.
“I hope military families, veterans and Gold Star Families can be in this country without fear of being deported,” Luna said.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-AZ 3rd District, is about to re-introduce legislation that would protect vets and their families from deportation and bring back vets who have already been sent away.