WASHINGTON— Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is urging President Joe Biden to take immediate action to prevent the deportation of Veterans, repatriate deported Veterans, strengthen the military naturalization process and remove barriers to accessing VA care faced by Veterans living broad.

In part, the Duckworth wrote: “Immigrant servicemembers possess critical skills that enhance military readiness, strengthen national security and protect our homeland. That is why, for over 200 years, Congress has provided servicemembers an expedited path to citizenship and both Democratic and Republican administrations have worked to streamline the naturalization process for servicemembers. In a period of armed conflict, such as now, Congress specifically intended for servicemembers to naturalize as soon as they entered service and prior to deployment.”

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Duckworth continued: “As your administration begins working to improve our Nation’s immigration system, I ask you to prioritize military and Veteran naturalizations as well as bringing deported Veterans home to the United States where they belong. The United States relies on immigrant servicemembers in all sectors within the military, and it is clear that the government must better support and protect them. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.”

Duckworth has been active in protecting Veterans from deportation and helping those who have been deported gain citizenship and access to important VA services. Last Congress, she introduced the Strengthening Citizenship Services for Veterans Act, legislation that would ensure deported Veterans who have successfully completed the preliminary naturalization process can attend their citizenship interview at a port of entry, embassy or consulate without navigating the complex process of advance parole. Duckworth also introduced legislation to prohibit the deportation of Veterans who are not violent offenders, give legal permanent residents a path to citizenship through military service and strengthen VA healthcare services for Veterans. In 2019, Duckworth traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, on Veterans Day to meet with a group of Veterans who have been deported to hear about their efforts to access the VA healthcare benefits they’ve earned.

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