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Helping Deported Veterans

At our 50th diocesan convention, we honored veterans and highlighted the military ministries of our diocese. We prepared 200 care packages for Marines and Sailors about to be deployed. And we know there is yet more work to be done in service to our veterans, as our Military Missioner, T. Randy Cash, recently outlined for us.

Military ministry in our diocese has a unique confluence with our border ministries, as we all too often meet U.S. military veterans deported to Tijuana. These veterans are not citizens but green card-holding American residents who have served America with honor, some in the most challenging wars for generations.


As Randy wrote, “Military service is not for the faint of heart. Transitional challenges, the stress of military life, and feelings of isolation all factor into a suicide rate among veterans that is more than 50 percent higher than that of nonveteran adults.” He continues,

Homelessness is another tragic outcome that is too often connected to military service. It is estimated that America has 60,000 veterans who are homeless. That is greater than the entire population of Carson City, Nevada. Though veterans comprise approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population, they are 11 percent of our nation’s homeless.

Upon their return from military deployments, veterans often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Health issues that cause them to struggle mentally, spiritually, and emotionally sometimes lead them to law violations. Veterans who are U.S. citizens have the opportunity for Veterans’ Court, which is run by the County Superior Court, to hear their cases and to receive mental health treatment from the VA. However, green card-holding veterans who have violated our laws are immediately deported upon completion of their incarceration. They cannot receive critical health care from the VA, services offered to U.S. citizen soldiers.

There are over 45,000 non-citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces around the world today and hundreds of deported veterans who have honorably served our nation. As a daughter of an Army veteran and a bishop in the Episcopal Church, serving a diocese along an international border with an active-duty military personnel population of well over 100,000, I am raising my voice to support all military service members having the right to become citizens at the time of initial military service. And I encourage others to do the same.

It is a great sadness that these veterans have been willing to give their lives for us and that we are not willing to consider them as our own. This is a vital opportunity to seek justice, to act with compassion and mercy, to rescue the oppressed by caring for some of our most vulnerable veterans, and to do what is right.

I invite you to consider and discuss the resolution being proposed in Congress for the care of our U.S. deported military veterans that addresses two vital areas:

The Veteran Service Recognition Act. H.R. 4569 will:

  1. Facilitate and expedite the citizenship process for our non-citizen military members, veterans, and their families.
  2. Create a committee to review cases of those veterans who are currently in removal proceedings or have already been deported. It allows this committee to make considerations for those who have been unjustly deported or for those whose character flaws that arose as a result of their military service put them in legal jeopardy.

I encourage local faith communities to consider these injustices and review courses of action we, as Episcopalians, can take to care for these deported U.S. Veterans. Following are some recommended actions and points of discussion that may lead to further action:

  1. Pray for those serving, those injured, for veterans, and those deported.
  2. To whom can you communicate your concerns in your community?
  3. Reach out to our Border Missioner Robert Vivar and visit veterans who have been deported. Listen to their stories, and offer a helping hand.
  4. Visit our military ministries page on our website and learn how to become a Military and Veteran-Friendly Parish.

When a U.S. military recruit raises their right hand and recites the Oath of Allegiance, they are swearing to demonstrate their willingness to give their life to defend the citizens of the United States. What greater proof of loyalty and allegiance can we ask of our service members than this?


Category: #Advocacy, #Military

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One reply to “Helping Deported Veterans

  1. Jan A. Ruhman | on December 18, 2023

    I want to thank you for your humanity for all members of society and for ebrassing our Deported Veterans with empathy and compassion as is done for all Americans. These men and woman green card holders who serve our nation in uniform are some of our most loyal patriots are lawful uimmigrant brought to the U. S. with their parents and at 18 years of age join our militry and after honoraably discharging as veterans who have embrassed their new nation and when they run afoul of the law after serving in our military and paying their debt to society they are thrown out like trash in our throw away society not given a chance to start their life anew as citizen veterans are. That is not eual treatment under the law. Please, call, email and visit your members of congress, the Senate and the President and tell them to correct this wrong. It is not an Immigration Issue it is simply a “Veterans Issue”. Please take a moment for your voice to be heard. Thank you

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