Thousands of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are deported from the United States every year. According to the latest statistics by the Pew Research Center, over 438,000 immigrants were sent back to their home countries in fiscal year 2013. Out of these, 240,000 were reportedly non-criminals.
However, states the Hartford Courant, the Obama administration has claimed that the only undocumented immigrants being deported are serious criminals – mainly those who commit violent crimes. This does not seem to be the case for some, including immigrants who have spent time defending the United States.
Some immigrant veterans with varying degrees of criminal convictions are reportedly being deported. In one example, a man who had legally come to the United States from Peru at age 14 later joined the Army. He developed post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the military and turned to alcohol. His untreated problems led to several DUI convictions and one charge of assault against a police officer for allegedly spitting on the officer – a crime for which he pled guilty and apologized. After he finished his last sentence for drunk driving, an immigration judge ordered his deportation.
The man’s family and friends, including his wife and two daughters, have attempted to gain support to prevent him from being sent out of the country. His wife stated that he should receive treatment for his PTSD and alcoholism, rather than punishment.
It is true that some immigrants willfully commit violent crimes after coming to the United States and are justly sent back. However, there may be a need for more compassionate treatment for veterans who dedicated themselves to serving the country they wished to live in.