The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is asking Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin for help in stopping the deportation of veterans.
Caucus members sent a letter requesting a meeting on the issue – and also to urge the VA give earned benefits to veterans who have already been deported.
The caucus members say their requests stem from a June 3 meeting with ousted vets in Tijuana, Mexico.
"During this meeting, the veterans shared many of the challenges they faced when they were initially deported and separated from their families," the lawmakers wrote.
"One prominent issue they continue to face is access to healthcare."
As part of a remedy, the caucus is asking the VA better educate veterans about their eligibility to apply for citizenship – and help in the application process "in order to prevent future veteran deportations."
The caucus notes there are 10,644 non-citizens serving in the U.S. military and 11,524 more in the reserves, according to Stars and Stripes, and there are roughly 3,000 cases of veterans being deported, with about 60 reportedly living in the Tijuana area.
"We are aware of deported veterans that have served as recently as the war in Afghanistan, to veterans that served in the Iraq and Vietnam wars," the letter to Shulkin read.
"However, because the federal government does not keep track of the number of veterans that have been deported, we do not have an accurate count of all impacted veterans and families."
Signing the letter for an "urgent meeting request" were Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., and Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y.
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