Padilla Applauds House Passage of Legislation Protecting Noncitizen Veterans from Deportation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) applauded the House of Representatives’ passage of the Veteran Service Recognition Act by a vote of 220-208 to prevent the deportation of veterans and by making the naturalization process easier for active military service members and their families. The House bill is led by Representative Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Padilla is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

“Noncitizen military personnel have risked their lives in service to our country and we have a duty to make sure their service is honored,” said Senator Padilla. “These service members and veterans have worked to defend our national interests and they deserve to receive the benefits they have earned and a pathway to citizenship for their sacrifice to our country.”

“I have been fighting to prevent non-citizen veterans from falling through the cracks of our broken immigration system for years because it is shameful that they are being exiled from the same country they risked their lives to protect and defend,” said Rep. Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I am thrilled that the House passed the Veteran Service Recognition Act, a critical step to ensuring that our men and women in uniform are honored for their bravery, heroism, and service, no matter where they were born.”

Senator Padilla is committed to creating a more humane immigration system as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. Padilla also chaired a Judiciary Subcommittee hearing that examined immigration policies for our military service members and veterans – including policies on deported veterans.

The Veteran Service Recognition Act would allow noncitizen servicemembers to apply for naturalization during basic training, establish a review process for those who are in removal proceedings, and provide an opportunity for noncitizen veterans who have been removed or ordered removed and who have not been convicted of serious crimes to obtain legal permanent resident status.

This bill was formally endorsed by the American Legion, UnidosUS, Union Veterans Council, and AFL-CIO.


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