Immigrant veterans tell personal stories of deportation
A recent live interview on FOX 10 News with two Latino veterans attending a conference at Arizona State University focused on issues surrounding immigrant veterans who have served in the United States military.
Tomas Robles, ASU alumnus, told reporter Syleste Rodriguez that legal immigrants who have fought for their adopted country often have family members deported, or face deportation themselves.
“For the longest time, the United States has been a nation founded and worked by immigrants, and the military is no different,” said Robles, executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) and former U.S. Marine. “One of the things we want to show is that immigration reform affects all of us, including our vets.”
Robles pointed out that many immigrant veterans must apply for U.S. citizenship after they have fought for their country and been honorably discharged. At times, they or their family members have even been deported. He said the conference intended to raise awareness of issues affecting immigrant veterans, starting a dialogue about an aspect of immigration reform that is little known or understood.
Rodriguez also interviewed Air Force veteran Jesus Magaña who enlisted at age 19. While Jesus was serving in Afghanistan, his sister received a deportation order and was sent to a detention center for two years without opportunity to post bond for her release. Finally, Jesus was able to assist with getting an immigration bond set so that the family could post bond and get his sister temporarily released.
“We want to keep this conversation alive,” Magaña said. “This affects everybody in America.”
During the FOX 10 live shot, Robles said the conference was promoting two calls to action: First, to pass federal legislation that would prevent immigrant veterans from ever being deported, and second, to put a more human face on immigration reform and how it affects all Americans – whether enlisted military personnel, veterans or civilians.
The Veterans and Immigration conference was co-sponsored by ASU’s School of Transborder Studies, Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement and Pat Tillman Veterans Center, together with Bibles, Badges and Business and LUCHA.