Congressman Gonzalez Convenes Congressional Forum on Challenges Facing Deported Veterans
[Pictured above: Congressmen Mark Takano (CA-41), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)]
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Mark Takano (CA-41), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), and Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) hosted a congressional member forum on the challenges faced by deported U.S. military veterans.
Two formerly deported U.S. Army veterans, Specialist Hector Barajas and Sergeant Arnold Giammarco, provided heartbreaking testimonies of the trials and hardships they encountered while deported to Mexico and Italy, respectively.
“We must take from the words spoken today and transform them into action,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “These soldiers put everything on the line to defend this great nation – now we must join forces and do the same to protect them.”
In 2017, Congressman Gonzalez introduced H.R. 3429, the Repatriate Our Patriots Act, which seeks to bring back deported veterans who held a clean record prior to enlistment. Since then, the congressman has sent letters to every state governor, President Donald J. Trump, and officials at the U.S. Departments of Defense and Homeland Security urging them to support veterans in danger of deportation. In February, the congressman convened a roundtable with Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) and multiple Veterans Service Organizations to raise awareness about the deportation of veterans.
Congresswoman Nanette Barragan (CA-44) and Congressmen Lou Correa (CA-46), Darren Soto (FL-09), and Juan Vargas (CA-51) were also in attendance. Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Veterans for American Ideals addressed the panel.
It is the hope of Congressman Gonzalez that more voices will join in support as the futures of deported veterans around the world remain unclear.
(Pictured above: Formerly deported U.S. Army veterans, Hector Barajas and Arnold Giammarco; and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Veterans for American Ideals)