Combat Veteran and Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, visited Tijuana, Mexico yesterday, to meet with U.S. Military Veterans who have been deported.
Duckworth who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she was there to honor the service of the veterans and offer supportive services to them in their efforts to access the VA healthcare benefits they’ve earned and other casework issues.
Duckworth also met with Consul General Sue Saarnio while in Tijuana to discuss what the State Department can do to help support the Veterans and visited Parque de la Amistad on the border between the United States and Mexico, where family members on either side can reach through a wall to greet each other.
Duckworth said that she is ashamed of how our nation is treating the deported Veterans. And that they are Americans all but on paper, many of whom enlisted after then-President George W. Bush signed an executive order fast-tracking citizenship for those willing to serve-but who, because of things like lost paperwork, fell through the cracks, and never officially became citizens.
Said Duckworth. “I refuse to let them believe that everyone in government has forsaken them, and I want them to know that I haven’t-which is why I spent this Veterans Day at that makeshift refuge in Mexico, recognizing the sacrifices they made for the country they love.”
Earlier this year, Senator Duckworth re-introduced three bills to protect and support Veterans and service members. Her proposals-the Veterans Visa and Protection Act, HOPE Act and I-VETS Act-would prohibit the deportation of Veterans who are not violent offenders, give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service and strengthen VA healthcare services for Veterans.
Today is Duckworth’s 15th “Alive Day”, which is the anniversary of the day she was almost killed after a rocket-propelled grenade ripped through the cockpit of her Black Hawk helicopter flying over Iraq on Nov. 12, 2004. She lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in that attack