DAVMF Continuing To Shine Spotlight On Deported Veterans Issue

Although the words "veterans" and "deported" shouldn't even be in the same sentence, the topic of deported veterans continues to be an issue of great importance to millions of Americans, us included. Many of the individuals who proudly and honorably served our nation are highly decorated, faithfully served in combat, and are just as American as their friends and colleagues who happen to have been born on U.S. soil. Yet, the U.S. government has taken the extreme step of deporting thousands of foreign-born veterans to their country of birth.

Too often, law enforcement will charge a veteran with a non-violent crime such as marijuana possession, a traffic incident or other minor legal violation, which then triggers the deportation process. Once deported, veterans often do not speak the local language of the country they are sent to, have no home nor established support network, and are quite simply ripped apart from their U.S. families. Unsurprisingly, the majority of deported veterans are those persons of color.
Consistent with the Democrats Abroad (DA) Platform, DA members have long acknowledged this injustice and strongly support the repatriation of deported veterans. You may recall from a few years ago we previously spoke with an expert on the deported veterans issue. In seeking to better understand these ongoing stories and the efforts of activists, DA's Kee Evans and Jazz Moore spoke with James Smith, the founder and co-director of the Black Deported Veterans of America. Mr. Smith shared his experience in having first learned about veterans being deported, his efforts in communicating the issue to Congress, and working with allies in trying to raise awareness of the issue. As a surprise guest (at the 22 minutes, 45 seconds mark), deported veteran Mauricio Hernández joined the conversation to relay his experience and further thoughts on the issue. Fortunately, a week after this podcast discussion took place, Mauricio was proudly sworn in as a United States citizen.

If you're not familiar with this issue, have a listen to this podcast episode and please share it! DA members (and indeed all voting-aged U.S. citizens living abroad) have the ability to register to vote from abroad and cast their ballot in support of candidates who support pro-veteran initiatives.
For more information about Mr. Smith's work with the Black Deported Veterans of America, please visit: BlackDeportedVeteransOfAmerica.com or BDVA.us
Participants in this episode:
*Kee Evans (Chair of DA's Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus, New Mexico voter, Guatemala resident, and military family member)
*Leedonal "Jazz" Moore (Chair of DA's Global Black Caucus, Texas voter, Switzerland resident, and military family member)
*James Smith (founder and co-director of the Black Deported Veterans of America, and Marine Corps veteran)
*Mauricio Hernández (U.S. service-connected, disabled Army combat veteran who was previously deported)