Torres Joins House Veterans Affairs Committee to Visit Deported Veterans in Search of Solutions to Honor Their Service
Tijuana, Mexico – Today, Rep. Norma Torres traveled to Mexico to meet with deported U.S. veterans to understand and address the barriers that prevent them from accessing the veterans benefits earned through service to our country. The visit to the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, Mexico, revealed significant opportunities for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Congress to work together to improve the lives of those who served.
“It is heartbreaking that veterans, who have given so much to our country must fight and struggle to access the medical care they are entitled to receive,” said Rep. Torres. “These deported veterans find themselves eligible for care, but prohibited from accessing it. If we truly believe in leaving no man behind, we must make sure Veterans can access the healthcare benefits earned while serving in our military. We can and must do better.”
While military service opens a pathway to citizenship for non-citizens, not all service members complete the complex application process. It is estimated that roughly 1,400 veterans have been deported in recent years.
“I’ve been working with one veteran in particular from our very own community who has had his life turned upside since being deported to Tijuana,” added Rep. Torres. “Just two months after arriving in Mexico, this veteran was robbed, beaten, and left with a broken hip. Now 72, and in need of urgent medical care, he is unable to access VA healthcare services, and is in dire need of help.”
The goal of this congressional delegation visit was to learn more about the difficulties for deported veterans in obtaining medical care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The delegation also focused on making it easier for deported veterans to receive the disability benefits they are owed.
“Any veteran who serves this nation honorably is eligible and entitled to the benefits they were promised, regardless of their citizenship,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), vice ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Today we discovered significant opportunities for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Congress to work together to address the barriers that separate deported veterans from the benefits they earned.”
The congressional delegation, led by Takano, also included Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), and Gregorio Sablan (D-MP).