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LULAC President Makes Surprise Visit To Deported Veterans In Mexico
Nation’s Oldest & Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Arrives with Former Army Lt. Colonel, Now U.S. Senator
Washington, DC – Domingo Garcia, National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) crossed the border early today and traveled to Tijuana with one of the nation’s leading Congressional advocates for veterans, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois). Their delegation also included repatriated Army Special Forces combat soldier, Miguel Perez and Carlos Luna, Council President, LULAC Green Card Veterans based in Chicago, Illinois.
“We made this important visit, unannounced for security reasons, to personally let all deported Latino veterans know that LULAC and Senator Duckworth do not forget them and we will not stop fighting until each and every one of them has been returned home to the country they defended,” said Garcia. “Americans must demand that our immigration laws be changed so that no veteran is kicked out of the U.S. after putting their lives on the line, come back with PTSD, can’t access medical care and fall into trouble. They pay their debt to society for their mistakes but then face a separate penalty because they’re not U.S. citizens and wind up getting deported. This is wrong and we must repatriate all veterans who have suffered this injustice,” he added.
The LULAC Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Roman Palomares, is contacting the governors of each of the states where Latino veterans have been deported and asking them to consider signing acts of clemency allowing the former soldiers to return to the United States and have new immigration hearings. This is what was done by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on behalf of deported veteran, Miguel Perez who successfully obtained his citizenship on October 4, 2019.
“As I shook the hands of these deported veterans and left Tijuana, I couldn’t help but feel they’re still soldiers in a different type of combat every day because their lives are still on the line, “said Garcia. “They’re targets of the plata o plomo danger because criminals see them as potential recruits and those who refuse to join them face the very real threat of harm or even death. None of us must rest until they are safe once again,” he added.
Palomares says Veterans Day is a good opportunity for encouraging our members to consider veteran-related activities year-round. Visit a VA hospital, unfurl and proudly display an American flag, reach out to a veteran you know or simply say thank you to a military service member we might see.
“Being an American veteran isn’t about war or conflict, although we may be called upon to face that too,” says Palomares. “It is about safeguarding the peace and helping to make sure that our nation remains a country where people can live free of fear and that their families can thrive and prosper. LULAC is proud to stand with them and together, we shall continue to defend and fight for the principles upon which our nation is founded,” he concludes.
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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit http://www.LULAC.org.