Letters: Bring our deported veterans home mural unveiling

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A Winters Express Letter to the Editor An article published by The American Legion magazine titled “Thank You, Goodbye” discussed the plight of deported military veterans. American Legion National Commander John Oxford cited, “It is imperative that we strengthen military naturalization programs, prevent veteran deportation and repatriate deported veterans.” The American Legion has had a position on U.S. citizenship through honorable military service since 1919. According to the U.S. Department of Defense there are approximately 45,000 non-citizens serving our military today with estimates of 5,000 enlisting each year. Immigrants have enlisted in the U.S. military since the beginning of the Revolutionary War. A report titled Non-Citizens in the Enlisted U.S. Military suggest, “relative to citizen recruits, non-citizen recruits generally have a stronger attachment to serving the United States, which they now consider to be their country, and have better work ethic.” In 1996 federal laws passed by Congress made it easier to deport veterans. The 1996 action has caused thousands of veterans to be deported. Two major measures in the law include prohibiting immigrant judges from considering military service in deportation cases and expanding causes for mandatory removal. As one deported veteran said “I’m ok to die for America, but I’m not OK to live in it.” In March 2021, the Leave No One Behind Mural Project launched by a coalition of veteran support groups, immigrant organizations, and educators began by putting murals across the nation. The murals intent is to gain awareness, support, and advocacy for non-citizen deported veterans and other immigrants. In Woodland on Saturday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. a mural will be unveiled at The American Legion Post 77 building, 523 Bush St. The unveiling will be held outside, all are welcome to attend. JESSE ORTIZ Former Yolo County Superintendent of Schools and USMC Veteran

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