tv Hearing on Immigrants Serving in U.S. Military CSPAN November 3, 2019 1:01am-1:56am EDT
anytime. next, a house judiciary subcommittee hearing on the impact of the trump administration's immigration policy on immigrants who so -- who serve in the military. lawmakers heard testimony from a military veteran who was deported, a former immigration judge and an immigration law attorney. >> the subcommittee will come to order and with the indulgence of our witnesses we proceed to the hearing and i think many of us would like to say a comment about the late john conyers who was a member of this committee for many decades who gave his life to public service and who passed away just a few days ago while serving his country both in the armed forces and in the
congress. we do more in his passing and it would be not in keeping with our traditions to proceed without at least giving our condolences to his family and to those who sent him to congress. i would like to recognize mr. nadler for remarks. >> thank you madam chairperson. people are mourning the loss of john conyers but nowhere is his loss felt more deeply than here in the judiciary committee where he served for more than 50 years as a member of this committee including more than 20 years as either chairman or ranking member. john conyers was a true champion for civil rights and a justice for the oppressed and disenfranchised. prior to service was on the forefront of the civil rights movement and was in alabama for
the freedom day bodine drive in congress endorsed and once in office he hired rosa parks and when her civil rights activism caused other employers to shun her. throughout his career he was a leader of progressive causes even if it was a lonely pursuit. >> he first introduced ledges asian for the reparations of slavery and jim crow back in 1989. he worked across the aisle and enacted bipartisan legislation such as the violence against women act, usa freedom act and the voting rights act. as a leader on the judiciary committee congress conyers and past important legislation such
as age crimes legislation and the innocent protection act. his he was a founding member of the critic and congressional black benefited from his wisdom and grace. he was my colleague, my friend. i'm honored to follow in his footsteps as he as we attempt to carry out his legacy. under all those we are heavy with his loss that we have lost the benefit of his leadership. >> the gentleman yields back. i now recognize the ranking member for the full committee for his statement. >> thank you.
i echo the chairman's statements about the long list of accomplishments that the statements that he made but i choose to emphasize what he accomplished from his time as chair and his ranking member whenever to him and the thing i remember the most is kindness, sense of humor and his dress and his sharpest dresser always in the room especially on coattails and one of the highlights was a few years ago when we went to detroit and he was host for that. it was a meantime to show his city and where he came from. the last memory i will hold dearest was when you get to washington you're amazed and i can remember leaving this committee and going to the floor
for a vote and we went to number, back to the hearing room and it happened to be me and him and i had been here a month or two so i was introducing myself and he said you're from georgia and i said yes, sir. i said you been here a long time so what brought you and i said i'll ask this question but what do you to congress and he started chuckling. he said i really wanted to come to a part of the jury committee to work on voting rights act of 1964. i laughed and i said you realize that's two years before i was born and he said yep, i've been here a while. stick and we would be remiss.
>> the gentleman yields back and all members will be invited to cement whatever comment they would like to make at this time. it is my pleasure to welcome everyone to this afternoon's hearing on the impact of the current immigration policies on service members, veterans and their families. over the last two and half years the meditation has implanted numerous policy changes that have made life more difficult for noncitizen members of the armed forces, veterans and their families enforcement as well as the elimination of prosecutorial discretion when it comes to migration endorsement has resulted in the removal or attempted removal of far too many lawful, permanent veterans who honorably served our country but struggled with the transition back to civilian
life, some who were disabled by ptsd. this hearing will allow the subcommittee to explore how these policy changes can be unforgiving and how they have impacted active-duty service members with veterans and their families. at this point, i would like to, without objection, ignite my colleague as a champion of this fear important issue for who will preside over this hearing in whom i yield the remainder of my time for his opening statement.
>> good afternoon. without objection first i would like to request permission to cement these letters as part of the record. these letters on current immigration policies on the service, veterans and their families. first of all let me thank my colleague representative for her leadership and i appreciate the opportunity to preside over this most important hearing today and as we approach veterans day we have to recognize and honor all our veterans including immigrant veterans that served our country honorably in the armed forces from the revolutionary war to the recent conflicts in afghanistan and iraq. today there are over half a million foreign-born veterans in the united states. as recently as 2012 there were 24000 immigrants part
philippines, mexico, mexico, jamaica are accounted for the greatest number of where they were born they are americans in every sense of the word who was in mexico. the corporal was killed in action in 2003 after iraq he forces pretending to surrender and ambushed him and his fellow. the corporal was post to muesli given american citizenship. he chose to defend his country as a marine and made the ultimate sacrifice. he was a dreamer. the united states a country they
love we have an allegation to uphold their promise to provide for these patriots with american citizenship. that since 1996 thousands of noncitizen veterans who took the oath of allegiance and were honorably discharged have been deported. no one put the uniform on and is honorably discharged should be subject to deportation. as every soldier knows, you never leave a soldier behind. sadly, the u.s. immigration and customs enforcement or ice does not follow policy for solving cases of potentially removable veterans does not always identify and track such veterans. as a result, ice does not know how many veterans it has deported. recently the admin attrition has adopted policies that have
affected the naturalization process for military service members and veterans. as a result military naturalizations have decreased by 44% from 7300 fiscal year 2017 to about 4000 fiscal year 2018. in august of 2019 u.s. citizenship and immigration service announced a change definition of the term resident. in fact, children born to certain u.s. service members stationed abroad will now be required to naturalize under a lengthier and more complicated application process. together with my colleague representative of texas we left a letter to the u.s. citizenship and immigration service with acting director, asking for
reconsideration of this policy. without objection i would like to cement that letter as part of this record. in total the policy changes negatively affect military recruitment and effectiveness and turn our back on immigrant servicemembers, veterans and their families. this is unacceptable and we need to correct the situation. i look forward to hearing our witnesses. it is my pleasure to introduce the gentleman from colorado for an opening statement. >> thank you. immigrants have recognize their sacrifice congress provided in law for the expedited naturalization of foreign nationals which includes september 11, 2001 --
naturalization is voluntary for naturalization must apply for it, receive a variable adjudication and take the oath of allegiance to become a naturalized u.s. citizen. as part of the process the apartment of defense must defy honorable service alien has met the time in service or garments. in most cases the 180 days. this policy that the servicemember has served honorably as required statute. october 1, the united state citizen and inpatient services has nationalized a proximally 130,000 members of the abroad. today we will discuss the difficult issue of noncitizen vetted veterans who been removed from the united states. supported to know if no one is
above the legal consequent is of their behavior. the cases of that has been a place for several administrations and with sensitivity to those who may have suffered from mental health problems due to their service. i'm also honored to be an original cosponsor with bringing member collins of hr 4803 the citizenship for military children it's a bipartisan bill to make the technical change for the requirements of section 320 the immigration and naturalization act. this will ensure the children of the u.s. armed forces, members stationed abroad will automatically acquire citizenship for all of the requirements are and will make sure they are not disadvantaged civilly because they u.s. citizen parent is stationed abroad. introduced hr 4803 earlier this month and i'm proud of her work on this bill than the chose when a change i look forward to
hearing from the witnesses and you'll back the balance of my time. >> i will now recognize the chairman of the committee for his opening statement. >> thank you. immigrants have served in the u.s. armed forces in every major conflict since the revolutionary war. according to the bipartisan policy center in 2016 a proximally 511,000 foreign-born veterans in the armed forces residing in the united states. immigrants make up a substantial portion of the veteran population and every day brave men and women risk their lives. we rely on it to keep their safe and provide stability to fragile regions their sacrifices and make sure their families are supported to give them every opportunity to become u.s.
citizens. fortunately, as a result of the unproven giving nature of our immigration laws numerous policy changes limited by the trump administration appears the opposite is happening. under the trump administration the deferment of defense u.s. citizenship and immigration services have implemented numerous policy changes that undermine congress to provide an expedited naturalization process for service members and veterans october, 2017 they cannot receive certification of honorable service. document which was essential to expedite the naturalization process and previously certifications can be issued as soon however one must first complete 180 days of service and one year in the selected reserve. in addition certifications could previously have been issued by any supervising officer and now
must be certified by the secretary of the military branch for a commissioned officer. these changes are unnecessary and cruel. they serve no purpose which may harder for any visuals serving our country to become citizens. they had a measurable impact. total military authorization fiscal year 2017, [inaudible] in addition because they dramatically cut the numbers of offices naturalization services to those stationed overseas have become much more limited. u.s. eis used to provide services 23 international offices in the change took effect last month and was cut from 23 international offices to four offices. personnel is on site to conduct naturalization interviews but
one week for every calendar quart. why would we make it more difficult for the men and women were risking their lives in service of our country to become permanent citizens. it's shortsighted and foolhardy. many of these veterans have been removed from the united states as a result of the ptsd, brain injury and other physical trauma suffered while on active duty and make the transition back to civilian life. in other words, they served this country, had a medical condition as a result which impaired their judgment, committed some crimes as a result of their medical condition but were therefore deported. we can agree individuals should serve a reasonable sentence but
we should if that may have been service related. there must be a better way to address these cases. our veterans deserve better and we owe it to them to find a way to bring compassion and discretion back to our immigration laws. i want to end on a positive note. last week i introduced a bill along with ranking member collins and we served honorably in the armed forces himself as well as several of my esteemed colleagues. this bill will fix the problem the result of the policy change in august which makes it more difficult for children of u.s. citizens serving our country abroad to be organized as u.s. citizens. this will reverse this misguided policy. it will make it easier for the children. i'm glad we were able to work together to pass this important legislation. i look forward to advancing our
efforts in the coming weeks. i want to thank the percentage of for holding this important hearing. i think the witnesses for testifying. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, chairman nadler. i like to recognize the ranking member, mr. collins for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these opportunities because i was a colonel and understand the issues running military service. it's congress place to determine what should be made to u.s. law governing those who serve desperate last week that sharon mentioned he and i along with other colleagues from across the political spectrum introduced hr 4803, citizenship for children. [inaudible] this exposed a loophole. some children were not automatic
acquire citizenship because of their parents deployment prohibited them from eating the statute. this would fix this unfortunate loophole. it is important to remember that immigrants wear the uniform and have since the founding of our nation. historically the average number of foreign nationals have been around 5000 a year and that number jumped to 7000 in 2019. many will go on to be naturalized for their service and from fiscal year 2001-members in the military including more than 11000 deployed overbroad. our immigration laws organize the immigrant layout provisions of the expedited naturalization of foreign nationals. in foreign national who serves in hostilities is a level eligible to apply for naturalization for honorable service. [inaudible] this aligns with
long-standing department policies that the department does not issue characterization for any citizen or noncitizen alike. not all foreign nationals have certain military and those who do not remain subject to our immigration laws, although we should not sealed service members from the necessary lawful consequences for agencies handling oral cases should be particularly careful with those of services. we must be vigilant about any enlistees, foreign or national alike to make sure they do not intend arm. the department of defense under the obama administration became aware of the risks created --
and halted enlistment. but that is vital with linkage or health skills vital to the national interest to enlist in the armed services even though they were only here on timber a visa. well-intentioned, the screening processes were not up to the challenge. this includes questionable preference for the foreign country. susceptibility to a foreign influence. there is an even one publicly known case in which a chinese spy enlisted to the military through the program. i note the deferment of defense is improving its screening i support the decision to halt the program.
[inaudible] at this time in service requirement and the other policies we will discuss. i look forward to the witness testimony and thank you for being here. with that, i yield back my time. >> thank you, ranking member collins. it's my pleasure period he was born in mexico grew up in california and enlisted in the army in 1995 and served for six years during which time he received multiple awards such as the army commendation medal, humanitarian service medal, despite his service to the his country he is bent deported twice with dishonorable discharge from the army in 2001. last year he became a u.s.
citizen and remains committed to his organization and providing support whether deported veterans. we thank him for his service and for being here today and we share your story, sir. second witness, the director of immigrant rights for the aclu of california and served as a senior staff attorney at the aclu of southern california. she has worked since 2008 and specializes in immigrant rights in litigation and policy advocacy's related to immigration enforcement and policy. she received her ba from bernard college and jd from georgetown university. margaret stock is a retired lieutenant colonel in the military police, u.s. army reserve imposable immigration attorney with the cross-border log group in the distinguished
macarthur foundation for her outstanding work in immigration and national security. she has testified before both chambers of congress, including this very subcommittee to discuss the issues ranging from the effects of immigration law on the military. she holds 3 degrees from harva harvard, including her jd, mpa and masters inches she did studies from the u.s. army war college. we welcome her as well. welcome back to this committee. the honorable mark metcalf is a former immigration judge on the immigration court in miami, florida and a former federal state prosecutor in his home state of kentucky. mr. metcalf also held various positions with the u.s. deferment of justice in
2002-2008. he's worked as a petitioner and a colonel in the army national guard and serves as command judge advocate with the 140 ninth maneuver enhancement brigade in kentucky. mr. metcalf has previously testified before congress and is an expert on immigration law. this includes his testimony before the subcommittee and that 100 11th congress he received his ba and jd from the university of kentucky and we welcome them back through the subcommittee and we look forward to your testimony. we welcome all our distinguished witnesses and thank you for your participation. if you could please rise i will spare you in. please raise your hand. do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you are about to give his true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information
and belief to help you god? thank you. let the record show the witnesses answered in the affirmative and thank you and please be seated. please note each of your written statements will be entered into that record and i will ask each of we will begin. welcome. >> chairman, congressman, ranking member and other distinct numbers of the committee thank you the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee to testify about these important issues i am a u.s. veteran who was to mexico in 2004 and honored to join you today to speak on math of my
fellow deported veterans about my personal experience and i would like to acknowledge that some formerly deported veterans have joined us in the room today, including miguel perez and the green card veterans that are supporters. i'm not proud what led to my deportation but proud of my military service in the positive compliments in my life, including starting this in tijuana. i grew up in compton, california and my family and i moved to the u.s. when i was kevin years old. as a child i remember pledging allegiance to our american flag every morning. i enlisted in 1995 when i was 17 years old and a lawful permanent resident at the time and wanted to serve my adopted country and saw service as a way to leave the environment and to afford to go to college. i arrived in fort bragg and
volunteered for airborne school serving in the 82nd airborne from 1996-1999. i reenlisted for another three years left service with an honorable discharge in october 2001. after i left the service i had trouble adjusting and made mistakes. i eventually found myself in prison for an incident where a firearm was discharged at a vehicle and i was sentenced to 3.5 years in the state of california but i was deported because of my criminal record and because i was not a u.s. citizen. i came back to the u.s. eagerly started a family and worked as a roofer. eventually i was deported in 2010 for a traffic incident that i had but they reinstated my deportation. i made the toughest decision in my life and decided to stay in tijuana and return to the u.s. legally. i wanted to but in in 2013 the
commendation of hard work and determination i opened up the veteran support i wanted a place that could help support veterans in situations like mine and navigate the hardship of deportation and the separation from our families in the country we love and serve. it's a lifeline for many deported veterans and around the world. provides housing helps them find jobs in file for va benefits and connect pro bono attorneys can return to their families under today's laws most deported veterans only come home to america with an american flag draped around their caskets. there is no honor in bringing deported veterans to be
recognized for their service only when they died. i became an citizenship on april 13, 2018 and i'm blessed to be back home in america and be a father to my daughter. once again, i want to emphasize i'm a firm believer in people being held accountable. it does not make sense for me to deport our veterans after they have completed their sentence and paid for their actions. for veterans, deportation is a double punishment. as an example, my friend is a former u.s. marine who was deported in the day he rose drug rehab center in tijuana. his daughter was a lively and
inspiring young woman passed away in an accident in 2017 and we held a funeral service in tijuana because roberto was unable to go to san diego to bury his daughter. i have a few recordations on how to ensure we protect our veterans from deportation and encourage all service mowers and veterans to naturalize. i'm blessed to be u.s. citizen today and i believe u.s. citizenship only acknowledges when many deported veterans already believe in their hearts. we believe ourselves to be american and no current law requires us to be report our veterans. we must support our veterans and i thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> thank you. i like to call on [inaudible] for her statement. >> ranking member about, to stay with members of the sub
committee for immigrant recruits expedited citizenship in exchange for their military. since 1996 the united states has betrayed that promise. we've deported thousands of our veterans and every day we deport more. just last week i supported [inaudible] a two-time iraq and afghanistan war veteran, combat veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury and who struggles with severe ptsd and substance abuse. they came to the u.s. as a three euro child and knows no other home. he cares for his life in el salvador paid these deportations are unconscionable and immoral and the result of three forces working together for the first, punishing an unforgiving 1996 deportation. the failure of the u.s. government to naturalize
nonservice members while they are serving. third, hyper- aggressive immigration enforcement over the past decade. deported veterans are nearly all former lawful permanent residents and those interviewed for our 20 -- the united states is the only country they know as home. change made excessively punitive with criminal convictions such as writing a bad check or possession for failed marijuana and even convictions for those who may serve no time in jail at all with prior deportation bars them for life. ninety-six laws dramatically expanded the definition of the category known as aggravated felonies. today the term is a whole host of nonviolent misdemeanors but are neither aggregated nor
felonies. the law may deportation men today are by eliminating all forms of judicial suppression meaning a single colonel conviction, one mistake, could equal a lifetime of the banishment with no exception. it means the judge will not be permitted to consider whether deportation because it domestic violence occurred more than ten years ago and they will not be able to served honorably to earn the rank of sergeant. he lived in the united states for 52 years since he was four years old and as a successful engineering career, two grown sons and a granddaughter and extended family who are all u.s. citizens. the judge will not consider the deportation was forcing him to live the remainder of his life estranged from everything he
knows because the law says one mistake and you are out. citizen and noncitizen veterans equally struggle with reentry following discharge and substance abuse, mental health issues and anger can lead to contact with the colonel justice system and as a society with that inflict our veterans. the policy looks the other way. [inaudible] is here today and sitting behind me with his daughter deported for the crime of spitting on a police officer which was defined as an aggravated felony. he served one year in connecticut prison and at the conclusion of a sentence ice was at the prison door and they arrested him and detained him for 3.5 years, 3.5 years without the rights to be released on bail. he fought his deportation and then deported him. do not matter he served eight honorable years in two young
daughters their father. one mistake. because of the change in law and allowed to get his green card back. most aborted veterans have no such options for return. u.s. will not be deporting the veterans how the government kept his promise to them and made them citizens while they were in the military. over the years numerous obstacles have stood in the way of service members naturalizing. none of those obstacles, none are greater than the obstacles service members are facing today with the deferment of defense and immigration service polici policies, miguel behind me and body the hope of deported veterans around the world their hopes lay at the feet of congress and they did not turn
their back on our country. we must not turn our back on them. >> thank you. missus stock, welcome. >> congressman, chairwoman, ranking member, distinguished members of the subcommittee name is margaret stock and a monitor to testify today. the last three years have witnessed in an effort to stop immigrants from joining the military, stalling their naturalization when they do join in preventing them from continuing to serve. the new policies do not make our country safer and they harm military recruiting and hurt military readiness and prevent the armed forces from utilizing talent. the new policies hide behind
balls rationales to conceal xena phobic motives and represent broken promises who would put their lives on the line in the previous efforts of congress to help noncitizen military members become citizens and the improvements for the naturalization cases have been eradicated and in 2018 the media reported the number of service members applying for naturalization after -- a story said immigrant serving in a motivator more military members cannot file for citizenship unless they receive a certified form in four to six stating they are serving honorably and three years ago getting the form signed really required a trip to the nearest military personnel office and recently the
deferment of defense changed the rules where this form can be survived and duty now requires an officer in the rate of zero they have great difficulty finding an officer of this grade willing to sign their forms. under the 2018 military processing act u.s. was required to process military naturalization applications within six months and however the law contained [inaudible]. when the law was in effect you ask process military naturalization applications quickly. today u.s. cs takes the position there is no deadline for processing these cases and they are now taking years to process. in mid 2009 they started a highly successful program whereby noncitizen military recruits filed for naturalization when they reported to training and in accordance with previous long-standing wartime practice
these allegations were processed so the soldiers graduated from training and became u.s. citizens at the same time. the current administration terminated this program in early 2018. last thursday i was at the only a few short blocks from the world trade center and adams square with its eye-catching monument to chinese americans who fought in the on them all played a continuous loop to illustrate the promise was made in that film is false. there is no more expedited military naturalization. today it takes much longer for a military member to naturalize than his or her civilian counterparts. military members application is much more likely to be denied. military members have had to resort increasingly to the courts to get the agencies to
follow the law. last week and active duty soldier with no criminal record had to sue dhs to the agency refused to make a decision on her naturalization. the law mandates the decision was made within 120 days of an interview. alayna was interviewed more than three years ago. u.s. cis officials so they decided not to naturalize her until she was discharged citing new dod policies. she was discharged honorably last it's easier for a civilian green card holder to naturalize then green card holders naturalize through their military service paid as a result immigration lawyers are now advising green card holders not to join the military more difficult. dod has made it more difficult for noncitizens to join the military in the first place. immigrants make up about 13.5%
of the u.s. population they are now less than 4% of the military. military recruiters report to me they are nativeborn americans and some they cannot find qualified candidates so the billets go unfilled. u.s. cis has recently changed policies or plans to change policies in ways that harm family numbers of military personnel and veterans. policy changes are made without conspiracy or account ability and without asking key stake holders first. i would be remiss if i did not mention the broken promise made to foreign nationals who work with the u.s. government in iraq or afghanistan. many of the workers have tried to get special immigrant visas promised to them by congress but remain in danger while they await background checks that drag on for years. the united states government breaks the promises made to these individual who put their lives on the line and previously
passed rigorous background checks american foreign policy and the lives of american military members are put at risk. national security depends on keeping the promises that america makes the immigrants who come here and keeping the promises we make a someone stands before an american flag, raises her right hand and takes the oath of the allegiance to the united states. we need to keep this promise that america is the nation of immigrants. they show no interest in reversing their misguided policy changes in congress must act. in my written testimony i make ten suggestions for things that congress can do to the u.s. government has made to america's fighting men and women prayed i thank you for the opportunity to testify and i'm ready for questions. >> thank you for your comments. mr. metcalf, welcome. >> thank you. it's an honor to be here. i think all of you and think the
panelists for their statement. i'm a colonel, soldier with 28 year of service and served at the victory base combat in my unit was a maneuver enhancement brigade and closed american operations in iraq [inaudible] with us for soldiers, jamaica, cameroon, ukraine, in one case a naturalized citizen served as a combat arms company commander and all earned their citizenship. thorough background checks for the rule and this brings me to the point i believe critical to good policy. first of all, we may have differences of opinion today but we are all americans. the policies conceived to advance the experience of immigrants is wide, large and it is generous.
i favor a 180 day active-duty service apartment for noncitizens that allows basic throwback projects and completed and can better identify individuals whose histories require further investigation with a continue a more rigorous and sensitive training. this is not onerous in the light of the great response bullies and opportunities service and the american military offers. time and service requirements permit suitability assessments as financial, with policies [inaudible] are conferred upon those who have no credible doubts about their suitability. i turn now to [inaudible] program. it was created to enhance force
readiness. medical and language skills were augmented through its application and some 10404 nationals were enlisted. still it was halted by the obama administration and fall any 16. generally the recruits have verifiable public and private records from outside the u.s. it made the need to scrutinize their histories all the more important so that no worthy candidate is denied membership in our armed services and moves on to citizenship. i favor approaches to scrutiny already put in place by doj. recent experiences justified the rigor and possibility and i want to point out in my more illustrated statement to you the incidences involving fraudulent applications in one case the chinese national posing as a recruit only to be found as a chinese espionage as it. i want to move on to the removal
of veterans. first of all, if i had been an immigration judge i would have canceled his removal from the united states. as a judge in miami. i've awarded 75-80% of all cancellation [inaudible] by the way, my grant of 75-80% cancellations was not unusual. the numbers from the immigration courts, if you start parsing them, mr. chairman shows are judges are generous with the grant with the lpr's and npr's and that is something we can talk about in further hearings but i want to point out that this is a perfect example of what cancellation was intended to relieve. also, i want to point out that
the cancellation process takes into consideration the kind of deep dive into the facts that the elements now being used by ice should have been using all along. i note that veterans overall criminal history is rehabilitation, family, financial ties to the u.s., and women history, health, community service in addition to the duty status whether active or reser reserve, years of service and decorations awarded. these are proper considerations to remove one veteran who should not be removed is one too many to consider each case on a case-by-case basis looking at all the facts applicable is the right approach and will always be the right approach. i thank you for your time today and i'm happy to answer questions you and the members and the panel may have. >> thank you. i would like to proceed under the five minute rule for questions. i will begin by organizing
myself mr. metcalf you are right this is not a democrat or republican issue but an issue about justice for all our veterans who have served our country and but essentially their life on the line for our country. if i may respectfully ask the deported veterans could you raise your hand, please. want to thank thank you for your service to our country and my question is the basic one. which is why when these soldiers earned their service why did they not become citizens? were those resources not given to you? were you promised that citizenship? >> thank you for that question paid to things that happen. i think the government needs to be held accountable when they promise citizenship and then needs to be a program in place. >> when you say the government promised citizenship.
>> it's an individual response ability but definitely the u.s. government needs to make sure there's a program in place that they set aside time or have somebody that can show you what needs to be done. >> thank you. this stock, you mentioned the program terminated and when you graduate from training in terms of putting you in a pasture you said that program has been canceled or suspended? >> the program has been canceled. it existed during world war i, world war ii, korean war, vietnam war and make sense legally for the people are not american citizens but fighting in our armed verses. the background checks are done
before they enter the service so they should be done -- >> is there a difference, a quantifiable difference, if you're marine, air force, army in terms of citizenships or folks that may become citizenships after discharge? >> all the services had basic training naturalization until 2018 in january when it was canceled. now we have chaos. >> could you be more specific? >> everyday i get a call from green card holder and the majority says nobody will help me file for citizenship and i don't know they're telling me i'm not eligible for citizenship and nobody is willing to assist me. >> when you mention it's harder for the green card holder in the military and the green card holder outside the military to become a citizen how is that? >> civilians don't need to go through convoluted multiyear contracts by the deferment of defense before they become
citizens. they don't need to get certified and they don't need to find an officer in the ranks -- >> i ask you because i've been in my district and we have a big latino district in the country and these kids i know for my high schools that are residents don't ask how hard it will be for me to become a citizen but they just enlist and marine recruiters are in high school and these kids with honor say i will sign up and i don't think they are there to serve the country. this concerns me because we need to move ahead and revert back soldiers that are serving with honor have the right to become a citizen and that right is a meaningful one. >> the program was highly successful. >> where do we go from here? do we present legislation?