Deported military veterans plead to be classified as “non-citizen nationals”

LatinaLista — The plea appearing on the Latina Lista Facebook page this week was simple:

Will you PLEASE help us bring to light and expose this unjust and unfair treatment of U.S.Military Veterans.THANK YOU.

military-emblems.jpg

The person who posted it was Hector Lopez, a U.S. military veteran. Lopez left a link along with his request. Following it to a website, I realized that Lopez wasn’t any ordinary veteran.

He actually belongs to a very special contingent of military brothers and sisters — those who after putting their lives on the line for the United States in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf War find themselves either deported or enduring deportation proceedings.

Banished Veterans serves as a cyber-camp for these soldiers, scattered across the hemisphere, to come together and fight one last fight — to be classified as non-citizen nationals and allowed to come home.

The definition of a non-citizen national is:

Under United States law, a noncitizen national is a person who is neither a citizen nor an alien but who owes permanent loyalty to the United States. People in this category have some but not all of the rights of citizens.

One would naturally assume that if someone paid the ultimate sacrifice, and it doesn’t mean dying, but putting their lives at risk, they would be rewarded by that government.

It’s only fair and just, especially after reading the different situations of each “banished veteran,” where we find out that the majority of them were lead to believe that military service was their golden ticket to citizenship.

Rohan Coombs; US Marine,Persian Gulf war Veteran,Jamaica

Rohan came to America with his mom and sisters from Jamaica when he was only 9 years old. Rohan graduated from high school in New York and promptly joined the military to serve the country he loved.

Rohan joined the marines in 1988 and was deployed to Iraq a few years later. While in the military Rohan filed for his citizenship but was told “You are property of the United States Government, that makes you a citizen”. No further action was taken on Rohan’s part because he wasn’t going to second guess his commanding officer.

It wasn’t until Rohan got out of the military with an honorable discharge that things started to go downhill for him. Rohan suffers from PTSD and was unable to recognize it. He started using marijuana to ease the suffering from what he saw in Iraq during combat.

During this time his wife had passed away 4 days before Christmas. This was devastating to Rohan and like his PTSD he did not seek help with dealing with his wife’s death.

He has been told he was a citizen for saying the oath to the military and for being told he was property of the U.S. and that made him a citizen. Now the judge in his case is telling him he is not a citizen and that he should be deported back to a country he hasn’t been to in over 30 years.

This is but one story among many who received assurances from commanding officers that they were citizens by virtue of their service. Some soldiers went on to receive the Medal of Honor or were recognized in some way by their commanding officers and they all were granted honorable discharges.

Yet, some returned home to find deportation letters waiting for them next to the Welcome Home banners. Other veterans, because of committing an offense, found themselves on ICE’s deportation list.

At this stage, these Banished Veterans are not asking for citizenship but they do want the U.S. government to acknowledge their service and the negative ramifications of serving in the military that has some of these soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that resulted in illicit activity because their conditions went untreated.

The Banished Veterans have a very strong allegiance to the United States and it’s easy to see after reading their site’s content that their deportations and current treatment by the U.S. government is more agonizing than walking onto a battlefield.

The Banished Veterans group is working with the National Lawyers Guild in trying to get a special resolution passed:

Resolution on amending the United States Code to clearly state that US military servicemembers are noncitizen nationals and petition the Department of Homeland Security to stay their removal from the United States of America.

None of these soldiers committed hard crimes but they are being held accountable for situations that either they had no control over (like coming illegally into the US as children with their parents) — or because the U.S. government is unwilling to be accountable for making false promises in return for warm bodies that will follow orders.

The Banished Veterans have a fight on their hands and in true soldier style, they’re not backing down.

They ask that people contact their congressmen on their behalf to stop this injustice before another soldier returns from war only to have to fight another battle.

 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to stay informed and up to date with articles delivered to your feed reader. Invite a friend to read news on LatinaLista.

Related posts

13 Comments

  1. cookie said:

    His commanding officer should be stripped of his rank and given a dishonorable discharge for misleading this man. Illegal aliens are not allowed to join the military. Also this man entered the U.S. at 9 years old. Why didn’t he ever take care of his illegal status?

  2. Alex said:

    This sounds like an issue for the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the Americian Legion. They have the numbers to help influence legislative change.

  3. Karen said:

    I can’t believe that our government would deport a veteran. That’s insane.
    Anybody who serves in the military should be given US citizenship. They earned it!
    Funny, how the military has no problem recruiting them for service.

  4. Bryan J. said:

    Cookie,
    I am dismayed by your insensitive, uninformed comment.
    First to the uninformed part:
    Many times, one cannot simply take care of their “illegal status”. In this particular circumstance, it is quite possible that Rohan had no legal avenue to “take care of” his immigration status.
    On to your insensitivity:
    Did you know that most Americans obtain their citizenship through the lottery of birth? That being said, Rohan didn’t win that one, he was born in Jamaica. However, he did MORE than most Americans–who have their citizenship from simply being born in this territory–to earn a status here. He went to war for us. That is not something I did.
    Tell me cookie, have you put your life on the line for the U.S.A. in the form of fighting in a foreign land? If you answer yes, thank you for your service. If you answer no, then this “illegal Rohan” did more than you to be here.
    I can’t believe, really can’t, that your personal vendetta against “illegals” can blind you to such a clearly wrong situation.

  5. cookie said:

    First off joining the military does not necessarily equate to patriotism for a citizen or non-citizen. Many enlistees join for the educational and job training benefits or because that is the only avenue open to them for economic gain. That is just the cold hard facts of it!
    Second, who ever recruited this man into the military was wrong to do so because illegals are not allowed to join the military. Perhaps the enlistee presented some pretty good fake documents also. I don’t know but I find it hard to believe that the enlistee didn’t know that he wasn’t qualifed to join the military due to his status in this country.
    I am not an immigration expert nor do I know what it takes to correct one’s illegal status to legal in this country but it doesn’t justify him remaining in this country for 10 years illegally.
    What you call insensitivity are the hard cold facts of illegal immigration. One gets tired of hearing every excuse in the book why illegals should be able to remain in our country.

  6. Gonzalo Fuentes Aguirre said:

    Hello my name is Gonzalo and I also was deported,for something most americans get a slap on the hand for.I am also a Veteran , serving Honorably in Desert Storm in 1991 out of Germany.As for Cookie,dont add no more comments to this site, when obviously you have nothing else to do.I would also serve again, but Im now in Mexico and have lost my wife and kids,although step children.I cant be there for my parents and family who need me.I just pray that someday, someone would do something for us Honorable Veterans,who did more for the U.S.by rising up to the occasion, when needed.I was still on Inactive Reserve Status,when I made my only mistake of my life.No one in Court saw my previous record and Service to my Counrty,they just saw a brown skinned man there in Court.One mistake does not make you a bad person, when in the U.S. most Americans are walking around with 2 or more felonies,for crimes worse than most of ours.Sad thing is, they go back and do the same thing again and still get some form of relief. Im not mad at the U.S.,just give us a chance to prove ourselves again,we did it in War,but made a mistake in Peace. From Cancun in Paradise, minus my Family. Gonzalo

  7. cookie said:

    Gonzalo, you don’t run this blog so you have no right to tell me that I can’t post in here anymore. I have nothing else to do? My, my your know me personally to make such a claim? I have plenty to do and one thing I do is respect our country’s laws and its borders. Is that a bad thing?
    I don’t know your personal situation so I can’t judge you and I am not. All I said is that illegal aliens are not allowed to join the military and if they do by either fraud or a crooked recruiter does not negate our rules about that.
    Americans who have committed a felony are not just running around loose unless they haven’t been detected yet or have already served their time so I don’t get your point. Our rules about immmigrants are what they are. If an immigrant follows the law by coming here legally and then abiding by our laws while here they should have no problem.
    Mentioning the color of your skin or anyone elses is just pulling the race card instead of accepting personal responsbility.

  8. ignacio lopez said:

    I HAVE A BROTHER WHO ALSO IS AN AMERICAN VETERAN,HE WAS HERE LEGALLY FOR 35 YEARS,SERVED HIS COUNTRY,WHILE IN THE MILITARY HE TOO WAS TOLD YOU ARE NOW A US CITIZEN,ALL HIS SCHOOLING WAS HERE IN NEW MEXICO,MADE A MISTAKE ,DONE HIS TIME 6 MONTHS AND AFTER THAT CLEANED UP HIS ACT AND BECAME A ROLE MODEL PERSON,ONE YEAR LATER HE IS PICKED UP BY I.C.E AGENTS AND DEPORTED TO MEXICO,HIS PARENTS AMERICAN CITIZENS AND SEVEN BROTHERS LIVE HERE,SENT HIM TO A COUNTRY HE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT,WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM IS DOUBLE JEOPARDY WHICH IS ILLEGAL IN THE USA,HOW CAN WE BRING HIM HOME,THIS IS HIS HOME NOT MEXICO

  9. ray said:

    i am to a vet who was deported and had to beg in the streets on san salvador el salvador for change to eat because i didnt have the proper salvadorean identification to rent a roon or to retrieve the lil money my family sent me via western union, used, forgotten, but still standing so anybody want to trade chicken a la king for corn beef hash_ the way i see it obamas duece in a half is not coming anytime soon.
    form san salvador

  10. ignacio lopez said:

    COOKIE I AGREE WITH GONZALO,LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS AT HOME,I WISH THEY WOULD DEPORT TO CHINA WHERE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEIR CULTURE,I WANT TO SEE HOW YOU WOULD SURVIVE,HERE IN AMERICA YOU HAVE LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE AFRAID TO SERVE IN THE MILITARY,NOW FOR THE LEGAL IMMIGRANTS THAT PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY SO YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR FREEDOM YOUR I SAID,THEY DESERVE TO BE NATURALIZED,THEY HAVE PROVEN THEIR LOVE FOR THIS COUNTRY BY DEFENDING IT,SOON IMMIGRATION LAWS WILL CHANGE AND THEN WE CAN BRING HOME OUR VETERANS

  11. cookie said:

    Ignacio, in case you have forgetten we have freedom of speech in this country so no, I will not leave my comments at home. Perhaps you should move to a Communist country where differences of opinion and freedom of speech are not allowed. Why do you feel threatened by another’s opinion unless you know deept in side that your own opinion lacks merit?
    I respect anyone who joins our military for the right reasons and does so lawfully. Are you saying I should respect someone who joins our military with fraudulent papers or joins for their own selfish gain rather than partriotism?

  12. Robyn said:

    These men are here LEGALLY!! They are all legal permanent residents-green card holder. THEY DID NOT ENTER ILLEGALLY AND DID NOT JOIN THE MILITARY WITH FRAUDULENT DOCUMENTS. I am Rohan’s fiance, fighting for ones citizenship is harder than you think and when you suffer from PTSD the last thing you are thinking about is your citizenship. They all suffer from PTSD from being in the war and have been pushed aside by the VA.

Comments are closed.

Top