Mission:

Green Card Veterans works towards influencing appropriate policy by changing  the narrative regarding non-citizen US service members, veterans and their families exiled through deportation.

While details of each veteran’s deportation vary, similarities exist among underlying issues and contributing factors. We view veteran deportation as an extension of veteran incarceration – an issue our country became familiar with after our returning Vietnam veterans’ own opioid epidemic was met with force rather than sympathy. This pattern of criminalizing mental health has continued and evolved over the last 50 years into an assembly-line-like process Henry Ford couldn’t have envisioned.

Green Card Veteran council members, veteran or not, have been united by a common mission: empowering the veteran community. Our council’s veterans represent the various branches or our fighting force, eras from Vietnam to our current conflicts and a myriad of post-military careers (including Veteran Service Officers) and levels of educational attainment. This diversity has shown to be an essential asset in educating our non-veteran community, stakeholders, policy makers, academics and more on military culture, processes and customs; and translating military jargon we often forget was not ingrained into the general public!

The diverse set of knowledge, skills and abilities our council members bring serve to redefine how veteran deportation is conceptualized and discussed. Our equally important non-veteran members and allies have demonstrated the true meaning of “support the troops” through their involvement and insight. Together, our team of young professionals from an array of disciplines and belief systems, allow for critical evaluation and analysis of veteran deportation and contributing factors, generally, and in individual cases that have come to our attention.

Green Card Veterans does not condone crime. We do, however, understand and appreciate the traditional relationship that exists between service members and local law enforcement as a reason for warranting legislative solutions to this inequity. Our current administration’s position on immigrants including those serving in active duty, its aggressive use of ICE to enforce equally aggressive polices in our communities and implementation of policies jeopardizing current pathways to naturalization through military service warrant immediate action.

Through careful framing of research findings and examples to humanize them, GCV has been able to leverage LULAC’s 90-year history on non-partisan civil rights work to create and deliver compelling policy narratives at all levels of government. During LULAC’s 2019 Advocacy on the Hill Day, for example, council members met face-to-face with more than a dozen Members of the House of Representatives, several sitting US Senators and another dozen staff representing members of both chambers to share our research and expertise. These meetings provided council members with the opportunity to educate each office on the legislative history that made this inequity possible, raise awareness of the contributing factors and the limitations of past and current (at that time) proposals. In doing so, we promoted a more robust conversation around the topic that will serve to strengthen future proposals.

While naturalization upon enlistment would return the relationship between our military enlistment and naturalization processes to where they were through WWI, and is the ideal solution we presented, the temperature of our nation’s political climate will be a tough obstacle to overcome.

Green Card Veteran members have also testified in support of various resolutions at City of Chicago, Cook County Commission and Legislation at State of Illinois levels.

  • LULAC Resolutions
  • Introduced LULAC Resolutions calling for the halt of deportations of green card veterans, their families and gold star families; to include less-than-honorably discharged veterans into the national agenda.
  • Organize community resource fairs that brings the resources to the veterans in our communities.
  • Use of media platforms to increase awareness of issues facing our community:
    1. Social media, press conferences, press releases, Podcasts and interviews for print and digital media outlets

The only way we can change the narrative is through identifying and giving a voice to the subjects of the story. If you have ever served in the US Armed Forces and have been deported from the United States (or are at-risk of being deported), please let us know through this form.

Deported Veteran intake form. Click Here.