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ACLU Report Documents Struggle Of Deported Veterans

July 6, 2016 2 p.m.

ACLU Report Documents Deported Veterans Struggle

GUEST:

Jean Guerrero, reporter, KPBS

Related Story: ACLU Report Documents Struggle Of Deported Veterans

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

In the news today President Obama announced more troops are staying in Afghanistan through 2016 than originally planned. 8400 troops will remain there roughly 50 years after the US invaded in the aftermath of 9/11. The president said the US mission would obtain -- retain focus on security.
Security forces are not as strong as any to be they improve intelligence logistics and demand control
38 Americans have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the past year and a half. One way to gain citizenship is to sign up for the armed forces but the ACLU of California released a report today on the struggles of deported veterans. The report documents 84 cases and accuse the federal government of failing to naturalize immigrants. Gene -- Jean Guerrero joins us with more on the report. You are avenues conference what struck you about the report?
I am still here. The just finished talking about the findings. What I found was interesting is the fact that these deported veterans face a lot of the same problems that regular immigrants who are deported face. They are behind US citizen family members some of them afterward struggle with mental illness there was a documented case of suicide after a veteran was -- deported. They also have some very distinct and unique issues for example they are targeted by cartels who want to recruit them because of their military expertise and so in many cases when they refuse they face death threats either personally or to the families and they definitely are facing more issues than the normal deported immigrants with.
Why are they being deported. If they commit a crime that put their status at risk?
With the ACLU found and was reported is that because of changes to immigration laws about 20 years ago that eliminated the power of discussion to consider things like military service and family ties etc. and the decision and in many cases and when they commit minor offenses and related crimes and dui and sometimes one of the other common concepts that were found. In many cases these crimes are found to be related to the military service and they were medicating [ Iinaudible ] in many of these cases there are times that does not allow the military service to be taken into account
Is there any kind of a Barb above are a below that they know that there are misdemeanors or felonies it sounds like some of the crimes are quite minor.
In many cases they are misdemeanors so there is not there considered aggravated felonies because of these changes.. The figure that was discussed at the press conference was at least 80,000 have been recorded since the changes to immigration laws took affect. It could be as many as 200,000 but at least 80,000.
I understand the ACLU has outlined some recommendations for the proposing.
They have a very long list of recommendations with the Department of Defense or homeland security is very comprehensive but some of the most interesting ones are to create a mechanism for veterans and they also want to make it easier for veterans to naturalize when they start serving a military and those are policy recommendations for Congress.
For customs enforcement they are saying that they should now required to ask.