The American Civil Liberties Union is promoting legislation geared to helping non-citizen veterans facing deportation.
Military service can be a fast track to becoming a U.S. citizen. But some immigrant veterans don’t realize that citizenship is not automatic.
Over the past year, the ACLU found over 200 cases where honorably discharged veterans were deported over the years, some for minor offenses.
Retired Marine Jack Harkins is part of a coalition supporting reform who came to a media event outside the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center.
"Thrown out of the country they came to serve. And that’s not fair," Harkins said. "Fairness is key to veterans.”
A handful of veterans live across the border in Tijuana, at a shelter dubbed the bunker. NPR reported on their plight late last year.
Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, has introduced a series of bills that would require the military to tell recruits about the citizenship process while they’re in training, require the Department of Defense to track down non-citizen vets to fast-track their citizenship, and allow deported vets to come to the U.S. for VA medical care.