Congressional Hispanic Caucus Requests Update on Initiative Assisting Noncitizen Service Members, Veterans, and their Families

Nov 10, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), and to the Department of Defense (DOD) requesting a briefing on the status of the interagency Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI), which aims to assist noncitizen service members who were deported from the United States. The letter highlights this issue as a top priority for the Caucus, and outlines questions on the steps the agencies are taking to assist noncitizen service members, veterans and their immediate family members who were deported from the United States.

“As Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), we are writing to inquire about the status of the interagency Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI), which your departments and other agencies are leading, to assist noncitizen service members who were deported from the United States,” the Members wrote. “The IMMVI’s objectives are strongly aligned with the CHC’s priorities as we believe that those who have served our country, paid for their actions, and who do not pose a threat to our communities, should not be discarded and their cases should be adjudicated within the United States.”

The letter was signed by the following Members of Congress: CHC Chair Raul Ruiz M.D., CHC First Vice-Chair Nanette Diaz Barragán, Second Vice-Chair Adriano Espaillat, CHC Whip Rep. Darren Soto, CHC Freshman Representative Teresa Leger Fernández, Rep. Salud Carbajal, Rep. J. Luis Correa, Rep. Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, Rep. Joaquin Castro, Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, Rep. Pete Aguilar, Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

TEXT OF LETTER

 

CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC CAUCUS

117th Congress

 

November 10, 2021

The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301

   

The Honorable Denis Richard McDonough
Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
Washington, D.C. 20420

 

 

 Dear Secretary Mayorkas, Secretary Austin, and Secretary McDonough:

 

As Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), we are writing to inquire about the status of the interagency Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI), which your departments are leading. The CHC welcomed your announcement earlier this year to launch IMMVI, an initiative to help the noncitizen service members, veterans, and their immediate family members who were affected by this practice. In September of this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shared additional information on the initiative’s goals to increase access to the immigration system, to critical benefits, and to other important services. The IMMVI’s objectives are strongly aligned with the CHC’s priorities as we believe that those who have served our country, paid for their actions, and who do not pose a threat to our communities, should not be discarded and their cases should be adjudicated within the United States.

 

The CHC respectfully requests a briefing for our Members on the status of your initiative. Ahead of this briefing, we respectfully request information for our questions outlined below:

  1. Please provide an overview of how DHS, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and other federal agencies are working together to locate deported servicemembers, veterans, and affected family members.
  2. What actions are your agencies taking to ensure that this practice does not continue? Are there any new policies being implemented?
  3. According to DOD data, a Government Accountability Office (GAO)[2] report found that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inconsistently adheres to policies meant to determine veteran status upon detention. How will you ensure compliance with these policies?
  4. Is there an expedited process for re-entry for identified deported servicemembers, veterans, and their affected family members? If so, how long is this process expected to take?
  5. Upon the return of deported servicemembers, veterans and their family members, what actions are your agencies taking to ensure that these individuals will be able to remain in the U.S. long-term?
  6. What can the CHC do to help with this important initiative for our communities?

 

Assisting the thousands of deported servicemembers, veterans, and their families who have been affected by years of this cruel practice is a top priority for the CHC, and we respectfully request that your departments keep us regularly informed on the progress of your efforts through this important initiative.  We stand ready to assist in any way we can to get the job done.

 

Respectfully,

 

 

 

 

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.