Bill aiming to fund legal services for deported veterans moves forward

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SAN DIEGO – Legislation to create a legal assistance fund for non- citizen veterans deported from the U.S. was approved  Tuesday by one Assembly committee and now goes to another, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D- San Diego, announced.

AB 386 cleared the Judiciary Committee and will next be heard by the Appropriation’s Committee.

“Immigrants who serve and fight for our country earn the right to become citizens,” Gonzalez Fletcher said in a statement. “That’s common sense. It’s a powerful way to recruit bright and talented young men and women, and it’s federal law.”

“But instead of keeping our promises, we’ve kicked these veterans out of the country they fought for,” the lawmaker continued.

Special provisions of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act authorize U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. Armed Forces and recently discharged service members, according to Gonzalez Fletcher.

“These provisions are being flouted or ignored when it comes to these veterans, many of whom came to the United States as children, grew up here, and consider themselves patriotic Americans,” she said. “In many cases, the veterans who are deported are sent to countries with which they do not speak the language or have any real connection.”